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Old 11-24-2008, 11:21 PM
 
122 posts, read 506,166 times
Reputation: 101

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As my gardening addiction grows, so does my annoyance with Old Man Winter. In my zone, I probably won't have much of a garden until after Memorial Day.

It is only mid-November, ten degrees outside, and already I am surfing the Internet for pictures of delicious greens, juicy tomatoes, meaty peppers, sweet young summer squash and others. I'm haunted by succulent icebox watermelons in my dreams, and have a recurring nightmare about avalanches of swish chard.

I'm jealous of those that get to garden year round, and am ashamed to say that I frequently lust after the pictures of cold crops you lucky ducks are growing. I am addicted to this garden porn you all post. And it has got me thinking about the future...

What part of the continental USA can claim the title of Best Vegetable Gardening Environment?

To qualify for this title, the place should have all of the following...
A year-round growing season.
An abundance of rich, loamy soil.
A supportive amount of natural rainfall, (lets say at least an inch a week.)
An absence of strong winds, pounding rains, and biblical hailstorms.
A low incidence of garden pests.*
A minimum of garden diseases.**

*While garden pests are unavoidable, hopefully this gardening paradise we all seek will not have armies of ravenous flea beetles, or truck loads of feasting tomato horn worms.

**Every location has some form of plant disease that is prevalent. Hopefully there is some gardening utopia out there that doesn't have persistent powdery mildew attacking all manner of cucurbits or horrible leaf spot ambushing defenseless tomato plants.

And... Go!
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:34 AM
 
Location: rain city
2,956 posts, read 11,040,330 times
Reputation: 4865
I've just got to say California. Not all of it, but
a line north from Bakersfield you can grown anything. Right up the Willamette Valley into Oregon.

Northern climates are good too. The winters kill off a lot of weeds and pests so in the spring your plants and the competing invaders all get a fresh start.

To my mind the southeast Gulf states are the worst. Bugs and weeds thrive day and night year round. The heat and humidity promote the spread of plant diseases and all kinds of molds and mildews. The ground gets so hot in summer plants cook right in the garden.
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:44 AM
 
Location: rain city
2,956 posts, read 11,040,330 times
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FOAD, I don't know where you live, but I gardened for several years in a place of 55 degrees latitude, rainfall was good.

Summers were late and short--but amazing. During the times from May to August when daylight lasted from 20 to 23 hours out of 24, plants went wild. Things would pop out of the ground and be 3 feet tall by the end of a week. Old fashioned perennials absolutely thrived. I saw forests of lilacs 30 feet tall. Hollyhocks spread for acres. Some kinds of plants did exceedingly well. Tulips.

The country people there had a special way of sowing tender seeds for spring. They would go out in the fall and put out their spring seeds covering them with sand. Then in the spring when the snow melted, as soon as the sun hit the sand it heated up and warmed the seeds which sprouted quickly and put down roots in the first few inches of thawed ground. By the first of May those gardens were going even though the snow had only been melted for a few weeks. Seemed to work well.

I remember talking to a newbie there who wanted to know when she should plant her fall garden, I had to stifle a burst of guffaws. Fall garden hahaha--no. The first frost would be in mid September and usually snow by mid October. Plenty of real snow by the first of November that stayed until April. No fall gardening, gardens were for the glory of summer.
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Old 11-25-2008, 09:38 AM
 
Location: Floribama
13,483 posts, read 29,425,055 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azoria View Post
To my mind the southeast Gulf states are the worst. Bugs and weeds thrive day and night year round. The heat and humidity promote the spread of plant diseases and all kinds of molds and mildews. The ground gets so hot in summer plants cook right in the garden.
Aww, come on now, it's not THAT bad.

Honestly, I don't grow veggies, but my grandparents used to and they never had much of a problem. For melons and tomatoes this area can't be beat, as long as it's not an extremely dry year.
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Old 11-25-2008, 10:44 AM
 
122 posts, read 506,166 times
Reputation: 101
Default Good to know...

Hey, I was under the impression that the Southeast was a great place to garden. I've seen more than a few hobby farmers in those parts. Good to know that it is not the paradise I imagined.

Maybe garden paradises are not year-round gardens? It probably is helpful to have a killing frost to keep weeds in check, but that never stopped the field bindweed here with our nine month long non-growing season. Also, I remember as a kid that zone 8 on the west coast was productive year-round, but zone 8 in Texas was too hot during July-August-September to produce much.

I've lived over near the Willamette valley, so I am aware of the fertile valleys up and down the west coast. It would be difficult to justify purchasing that spendy land though. I could buy another farm out here on the prairie for the price of an acre there.

Currently, I have two farms. One in zone 3A and one in 4A. Yes, things grow like mad, and the soil is much more productive than it looks. I just can't stand waiting until May 20 - 31st to start planting. That little salad garden spot, with every type of spinach, lettuce and asian greens is sorely missed! No more unlimited salad buffet.

Last edited by FOAD; 11-25-2008 at 10:46 AM.. Reason: broken emoticon
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Old 11-25-2008, 04:59 PM
 
Location: Albemarle, NC
7,730 posts, read 12,445,614 times
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I'm on the cusp of 7/8, more 7 than 8. I like our growing season. I can put tomatoes out in late april usually. Our first hard frost was a couple weeks ago. We still have leaves on some trees.
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Old 11-25-2008, 05:21 PM
 
Location: a primitive state
9,537 posts, read 19,402,289 times
Reputation: 11407
Quote:
Originally Posted by southernnaturelover View Post
Aww, come on now, it's not THAT bad.

Honestly, I don't grow veggies, but my grandparents used to and they never had much of a problem. For melons and tomatoes this area can't be beat, as long as it's not an extremely dry year.
It isn't that bad but it may be that we're used to it. I live on the GA coast and can keep something growing in my vegetable garden year round if I'm paying attention.

Even in late summer/early fall when everything's sort of gone to heck, there's still basil, scuppernong grapes, peppers, okra, chinese eggplant, late tomatoes, and a late crop of green beans, if you remember to start them.

I'm a lackadaisical gardener for the most part and do better with a square foot garden that's lower maintenance than a traditional row crop set up. I'm just getting a garden spot set up behind my most recent home. With a full-time job and other things going on, it's taken me awhile to get this one started.

Winter is when we grow our salads and leafy greens. Onions, garlic, leeks, snow peas are also winter and very early spring veggies. I'm not much of a potato farmer, but you plant them here in mid Feb. The cool weather is easier to work in. I think we gardeners get as burned out in August as our crops do.

So Mr./Ms. FOAD you could come down here for the winter and grow your salad.
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Old 11-25-2008, 10:07 PM
 
48,519 posts, read 80,998,062 times
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Parts of Florida and of course the valley in south Texas.
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Old 11-26-2008, 10:12 AM
 
Location: The mountians of Northern California.
1,354 posts, read 5,625,993 times
Reputation: 1270
I grew up in Sacramento, CA. I loved gardening there, once you got past the hardpan. I was a kid and had the best flower and veggie garden in the neighborhood. So if a kid can grow things, anyone can. Now I live in the north eastern part of the state and it has been much harder for me to grow things, late snows, early frost in the fall, bad soil, volcanic rock everywhere, high PH levels, etc.

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.'
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Old 11-26-2008, 12:20 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
13,388 posts, read 42,701,155 times
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Well, with the exception of the occasional hurricaine, parts of Hawaii probably would work for you. Or Willamette Valley, parts of CA.

None of these tropical paridises is cheap, but you didn't put cheap in your list of wants...
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