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Ongoing climate confusion

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, I'm trying to figure out what to grow over winter here in Nanango.

I've mentioned before that the climate here is confusing!  Over summer we have daytime temperatures of up to the high 30degC, afternoon storms and high humidity, with night-time temperatures in the high 20degC (if we're lucky!).  Its almost a sub-tropical wet season, rather than summer.

Around this time of year though the climate changes dramatically.  We still have 30degC days, but overnight the temperatures can be as low as 10-15degC.  As winter approaches the daytime temperature will get down to mid-20degC, but overnight we can expect frosts.  The strangest part is that the frost is very much location dependent.  Our neighbours did not suffer from frost last year as their house is at the top of the hill, but we are down lower on the hill and cold air being dense tends to roll down the hill, so we had some severe frosts.

Our winter is then a real temperate, or at least mountain, winter.  This means that we can't really grow tropical plants here through winter, as they don't survive the frost, but temperate plants don't do well through the hot humid summer!  I am still coming to terms with our confusing climate!

I have now realised that around this time of year I need to stop looking at the sub-tropical climate chart, and start looking at the temperate winter chart to work out what to grow.  In spring I can return to sub-tropical to decide what will grow through summer.

Our aquaponics greenhouse will help to smooth out our climate as some of the tropical plants can hang out in the greenhouse to survive the frost, and we can still grow the cold climate plants outside.  I hope this will lead to a greater range of plants that we can grow throughout the year.

I'm really jealous when I read about US gardeners who seem to have a very comprehensive system of zoning to help identify climate zones, whereas ours here in Australia seems to be a little vague!

trying to work out what to plant!


  1. Up here (north of Cairns) in what would probably be called the tropics we seem to have more consistent temperatures throughout the year - the only thing that really changes is the humidity. Lately though the wet season seems to be extended later in the year. Here in the dry season we grow greens, but it is never cold enough to grow cauliflower and broccoli which I imagine you can grow there. also I have learned some plants like onions and garlic require long days, whereas our day length doesn't waver much throughout the year. One thing I do know is that there are always exceptions to the rules! Confusing it sure is!

  2. It does sound very challenging but I'll bet that you'll discover even more great tactics to dealing with your climate. The greenhouse sounds like a lifesaver though!

    Good luck with your planting Liz :)

  3. That does sound confusing! But a fun kind of puzzle to figure out. (I love garden planning, maybe even more than gardening itself.)

  4. The last few years have been mild as far as frosts go. I'm putting in onions, beetroot, broccoli, ruby chard, cauliflower and peas.
    This year I have plenty of water in the dam so should do pretty good.... strawberries are still here for you.

  5. It seems to be that way every where! Her in West Virginia, last week it was in the high 80's and yesterday it was in the mid 30's. But thankfully nothing has froze yet!

  6. Hi Liz
    I am a bit like you with the subtropical summer and temperate winter. On the Diggers planting guide I go with a cold zone of 9b which is the Toowoomba zone for winter. This year I have gotten my winter veggies planted out as seeds at the end of feb and potted on so that they are ready to go in the ground now, hopefully then they will have time to grow. I have also switched to mini cabbages as I wound the winter was not long enough for big ones.

  7. Thanks everyone! It is a bit of a challenge and gratifying when I figure out what does work. Its good to have some locals (Judi) and semi-locals (Fiona) for advice too! Small cabbage sounds like a good idea, I'll investigate for next year (just bought packet of the normal sized ones).


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