TOPIC 1: The right plants for the right place

TOPIC 1: The right plants for the right place

In this topic we will explore why it is important to know about the specific needs of the respective plant and how this knowledge helps us in gardening.

The right plants in the right location can make a difference. Looking closely at the conditions in your garden and choosing plants that are best adapted to them helps to create a resilient garden. Depending on the soil, its ability to keep water, the exposure to the sun and neighbouring plants and structures, you might choose different plants. Perennial, local species that reproduce themselves need the least resources. Perennials have the advantage of having more time to develop and thereby produce a wider root system. This enables them to draw water and nutrients from deeper layers and makes them less vulnerable. Soil needs to be cultivated only once and thus has a positive impact on soil structure.

If you want to stick to classical vegetables you can still choose plants that need less water. Plants with taproots can draw water from deeper soil layers and can be sawn early in the season. Some examples: carrots, parsnips, parsley and beet roots.

As we experience more extreme weather phenomena like hail, storm, heavy rains and more pests and diseases plants that need only a short time to be ready to harvest can be a good choice. They have a higher chance to grow in between two weather events or before the pests have developed. Seed selection for quickly ripening and locally adapted varieties can even be done in your garden.

Some vegetables can cope better with hot summers than others. Plants that were only grown in mediterranean or subtropical regions might be a good try also in more northern regions. Spinach can be replaced by Okinawa spinach, salads by rucola or common purslane. Sweet potatoes and yacon were successfully grown where it is too hot and/or humid for potatoes. Some varieties of beans are more drought resistant than others e.g. egyptian beans and string beans.

You can also choose plants that grow in seasons that are less hot

Sources and further information:

Bauer, Magdalena: Extensives Gärtnern – script from a lecture in 2016

Obermoser, Josef: Personal talk during an excursion to Zödelei, a community garden in Graz, Austria, 2023

University of Weihenstephan: Garten-Klima: Gemüsebau: accessed in June 2023

NABU: Gärtnern in Zeiten des Klimawandels accessed in June 2023