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Old 11-28-2008, 10:03 PM
122 posts, read 512,856 times
Reputation: 106


Well, my obsession won out, and I dug up some tools that may help others that wonder where their gardening paradise could be located.

When you combine the data from the three resources below, you get a pretty good picture of the gardening climate of that area. Even though the maps are free, I don't think I can post links to them.
Use a search engine for the following...

The Arbor Day Foundation
2006 Hardiness Map
(Updated USDA hardiness map, by ADF)

American Horticultural Society
AHS Heat Zone Map
(Shows number of days above 86F)
86F is the point at which plants begin suffering physiological damage from heat.

(a magazine)
Sunset Climate Zones
Sunset's Garden Climate Zones
A plant's performance is governed by the total climate: length of growing season, timing and amount of rainfall, winter lows, summer highs, humidity. Sunset's climate zone maps take all these factors into account unlike the familiar hardiness zone maps devised by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which divide the U.S. and Canada into zones based strictly on winter lows. The U.S.D.A. maps tell you only where a plant may survive the winter; our climate zone maps let you see where that plant will thrive year-round.

The USDA Hardiness Map - which provides the hardiness zones we all see on the back of seed packets, is not bad either.
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Old 11-29-2008, 02:52 AM
48,516 posts, read 82,447,924 times
Reputation: 18011
The south Texas valley has all those things and the land is still cheap compared to most places. Tons of produce from there.
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Old 12-03-2008, 09:14 PM
8,973 posts, read 14,778,238 times
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Originally Posted by Inthesierras View Post

My grandparents are at the top end of the Willamette Valley. Their gardens have always been amazing. Lots of rainfall, good soil, moderate temperatures, etc. My grandma has said "if you toss seeds out a window here, they will grow into a garden.'
I'll agree. Though I live in S. California, my vote for the all-around most effortless place to grow MOST things would be the Pacific Northwest, west of the Cascades. The rainfall is great enough, the summer heat inland isn't intense enough to be damaging, and even with the light winter dusting of occasional snow, the ground doesn't freeze.

The Willamette valley is a veritable "cornucopia" of specialty fruits, vegetables, berries, flower-bulb producers, and vineyards....and is the nation's leading producer of lawn grass seed...and out on the coast the only problem is lack of high summer heat. Snow there is extremely rare, and freezes are brief. Palms like "Trachycarpus" do quite well on the Oregon coast, up to 30 feet or more...the only thing that's really 'out' would be tropical fruits or plants requiring arid conditions.

Public parks in Portland and Seattle tend to be quite lush compared to elsewhere..and Vancouver, BC? It's a regular RIOT of flowers everywhere, probably due in some part to the British influence. Victoria even MORE so.

You can't grow everything up there...but it's probably got the best results with the most plants, with the least effort, of anywhere else in North America.
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Old 12-04-2008, 07:07 AM
Location: Gary, WV & Springfield, ME
5,826 posts, read 8,550,795 times
Reputation: 17256
Northern and central Florida. When I was in Orlando, I spent way too much time playing int the sand - and grew an amazing garden. Many things that are considered annuals in the rest of the country are perennials in FL. Impatiens are one. Tomatoes can grow all year long with minimal protection from the elements during cold snaps, but in all, FL wins hands down. The tricky part is being able to adjust to more northern temperatures where things are not so adaptable.

The downside to Florida is that when there are no daily rains, the temperatures can get really unbearably hot. Putting newspaper above the roots and then a layer of mulch on top of that will protect the roots of most tender plants. The humidity in the air will help provide the plants with needed moisture.
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Old 12-04-2008, 05:04 PM
122 posts, read 512,856 times
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Good stuff!
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Old 12-04-2008, 09:57 PM
Location: a primitive state
9,700 posts, read 19,768,181 times
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Originally Posted by FOAD View Post

American Horticultural Society
AHS Heat Zone Map
(Shows number of days above 86F)
86F is the point at which plants begin suffering physiological damage from heat.
Even I suffer physiological damage when it's over 86F. But we can grow okra and sweet potatoes in it.
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Old 12-05-2008, 05:40 AM
Location: los angeles
5,031 posts, read 11,177,036 times
Reputation: 1484
California's Central Valley produces 50% of the nation's vegetables\ fruits & nuts. The PacificNW is too cold during winter w/ a late spring to even compare to California's 365 day a year growing season. Of-course, if it wasn't for irrigation California would be a desert. California feeds the nation
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Old 12-06-2008, 09:20 AM
Location: mid wyoming
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I'd have to say around the nashville tn
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Old 12-07-2008, 12:01 AM
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Reputation: 4236
I currently live in Portland, Oregon, lovingly surrounded by concrete and asphalt.

In the past few years, I've noticed quite a wonderful thing happening in my neighborhood. More than a few newcomers who have bought their houses within the last few years have planted organic, edible landscapes. Front, back and side yards. Some of the olders (50's ish) homes have fairly large yards. The soil is good & the weather perfect for gardening. I'll see if I can get pictures, if the owners will permit it.

Does anyone else have these edible landscapes in their urban neighborhoods?

Owning land in the Willamette Valley area would be cost-prohibitive for me, I'll have to move to another part of the country to do that.

Anyway, just thought I'd chime in here, because one day I would love to have some land and a garden. Very interesting subject!
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Old 12-07-2008, 10:10 PM
Location: McKinleyville, California
6,413 posts, read 8,986,914 times
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The climate here in Humboldt county California on the coast ( Eureka ) is moderated by the ocean and bay with mountains to the east that squeeze out their moisture here in sometimes prodigious rain and a fair amount of snow in the mountains. Last year we got 48 inch's of rain here in McKinleyville and the year before that a record of 75 inch's. We also do not get much frost, less than 20 days at the most. I have clients with lettuce, chard and peas nearly year round. A few miles inland is a different story with ice and frost, we seldom get ice and rarely a heavy frost. But, we seldom get hot, thought last May on the 15th we hit 100 here on the coast and broke all records. In the eight years that I have lived here on the coast; it hit the 90's twice in the summer and last spring with 100, but we have only been below freezing a few times and a few years ago we dropped to a low of 22 one morning. Air conditioners are rare in homes here and wood stoves are more for convenience. The soil in the low lands is quite rich, especially in Arcata's bottoms, very rich and loamy. Agriculture in farming and ranching is still strong here.
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