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Old 04-11-2008, 04:13 PM
 
1,836 posts, read 4,458,581 times
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Which state in the lower 48 has the best growing season? Someplace very rural and with wide-open spaces.

I'm looking to move in a year, once I'm debt-free, and settle down in one place permanently. There are so many factors that play into choosing a place to live and I've been evaluating and researching all of them for the last two years. What I've found is that, over this time period, what's important to me keeps changing. This isn't making things easier!

At first it had to be very rural. Don't bother me and I won't bother you.

Then I got over that and decided that being near a rural, small town is fine. After all, I really do love people, I was just going through an "I hate the city-phase."

Then gardening became important. That led me to wanting to be as self-sufficient as possible and living off-grid. But, now I'm learning how expensive it can be to live off-grid.

Location-wise, I wanted to live in the mountains. I'm still highly considering western Montana, northwestern Wyoming, northern Idaho or eastern Oregon. The only thing that get to me about these areas is the short growing season. I hate hot and humid weather and can handle any level of cold pretty well.

So, now, this is the conclusion I've come to: (for now)

- I'd like to live in a rural area, possibly a bit remote or off-grid, and around like-minded folks who really enjoy living simply and helping each other out. I'm not a hippy or a new-ager, but I don't mind being around them at all. (Just don't want to be expected to hug a tree, thank the grass, clack my chakras or see through a third eye or anything.)

- I want a garden. A big one. I want to grow organic fruits, vegetables and herbs so I can have an over-abundance to share with folks who need it. I'm a canning fanatic and would love to can tomatoes and tomato juice until I had it running out my ears!

- I'd like to live where "less is more" in government.

Any place you can think of that fits the bill AND has a great growing season?
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Old 04-11-2008, 08:20 PM
 
Location: Sometimes Maryland, sometimes NoVA. Depends on the day of the week
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I was going to suggest rural Appalachia (east TN, western NC, SW VA, eastern WVA) until you mentioned no heat and humidity. But there maybe be some areas in West VA that might be ok. Cannaan Valley, for one. Its cooler and less humid there in the summer than when you get east of the mountains.

Then again, our mountains here on the East Coast get laughed at by the Rockies. And we just sing "Babe the Rocky mountains are gradually eroding. The hills of Coors are nothing more than Blue Ridge wanna bes." (Apologies to Eddie from Ohio, and be glad you didn't hear me singing that )
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Old 04-11-2008, 11:38 PM
 
Location: Jax
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Well, I think Florida has the longest growing season (or one of the longest), you can grow vegetables and fruit year-round here.

You can still do rural in Florida, but it would be inland and you'll need to bring your dollars, it's gotten very expensive in Florida, even in North Florida where I live .

Oh and you will have to "clack your chakras" here...that's a requirement!
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Old 04-12-2008, 07:54 AM
 
Location: DC Area, for now
3,517 posts, read 12,050,963 times
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Rural areas in almost any state would give you what you want. Don't go to the southeast below the Mason Dixon line if summer humidity is a deal breaker tho there can be some very inexpensive living in those areas. The reality is that anywhere has its not very pleasant weather aspects. In the west, water availability is a big deal and getting more so as the population increases. Water is gold. High altitude gardening is a challenge in itself. Things tend to grow smaller and even if the temp/moisture profile is met, the altitude can make it difficult for some things.

I think looking for a property you can afford in a place that feels good to you is the most important thing. You then adapt to the conditions of the place. You can extend the growing season with a lot of different techniques, like cloches, hotbeds, even greenhouses. Every place will have its challenges - bugs, diseases, lack of water, too much water, irregular water, etc. Organic garden techniques ameliorates any problem and after a few years, it gets easier as you build the health of your soil and get the collection of insect helpers in balance. People have done this everywhere. There is no perfect place for self-sufficiency, but there can be a perfect place for you. It is all what you make of it.
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Old 04-12-2008, 09:40 AM
 
Location: central oregon coast
208 posts, read 783,282 times
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Default Wet side of oregon

I have flowers almost all year-I live 14 miles from the ocean where it is warm enough to grow tomato's and corn.We have to wait till December or January to prune-it's hard to catch a dormant stage.We have to mow the lawn in the winter.
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Old 04-12-2008, 11:04 AM
 
Location: Cosmic Consciousness
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Default Hardiness Zones 1990-2006

You might find this interesting:
a map of the lower 48 showing "hardiness zones". The site opens with those zones colored for 1990. HOWEVER, if you click on "Play", you will see how that distribution changes by 2006...
Hardiness Zone Changes at arborday.org
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Old 04-12-2008, 11:48 AM
 
1,836 posts, read 4,458,581 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubytue View Post
I was going to suggest rural Appalachia (east TN, western NC, SW VA, eastern WVA) until you mentioned no heat and humidity.
I lived in the Knoxville area for a time. Had great friends there. It was a bit warm and humid for me. I don't remember it being too extreme, though. Western NC was always possible, too. I've heard great things about the area and the people.

The heat and humidity are becoming a little bit less of an issue for me. I still don't like it at all, but, considering that I intend to build in a way to keep my home naturally cool in the summer and warm in the winter, that does make it a bit less of an issue so I can have a longer growing season. Places where it gets really hot and humid, though, are out altogether though!
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Old 04-12-2008, 11:51 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riveree View Post
Well, I think Florida has the longest growing season (or one of the longest), you can grow vegetables and fruit year-round here.

You can still do rural in Florida, but it would be inland and you'll need to bring your dollars, it's gotten very expensive in Florida, even in North Florida where I live .

Oh and you will have to "clack your chakras" here...that's a requirement!
Florida won't have to worry about me adding to the overcrowding. Chakra-clacking or not, I doubt I could ever live in Florida! I appreciate your suggestion, though!
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Old 04-12-2008, 12:12 PM
 
1,836 posts, read 4,458,581 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tesaje View Post
Rural areas in almost any state would give you what you want.
This is an excellent point and one that I have been keeping in mind. I think if more people kept in mind that no place is going to be perfect or exactly what they're looking for, they just might end up a bit happier for it! I wish I could rep you again for this comment alone, but, alas, I must "spread it around" a bit more first...

[quote]Don't go to the southeast below the Mason Dixon line if summer humidity is a deal breaker tho there can be some very inexpensive living in those areas. The reality is that anywhere has its not very pleasant weather aspects. In the west, water availability is a big deal and getting more so as the population increases. Water is gold. High altitude gardening is a challenge in itself. Things tend to grow smaller and even if the temp/moisture profile is met, the altitude can make it difficult for some things.[quote]

Exactly the reason why these areas are out of the question for me. (Not to mention the insane heat and humidity!)

Quote:
I think looking for a property you can afford in a place that feels good to you is the most important thing. You then adapt to the conditions of the place.
Again, this comment is very rep-worthy. Through my research and exploring, I'm beginning to find this to be true. Different things matter more to different people. To some folks, weather is the biggest factor for where they live. For some, it's the geography and topography. For some it's going to be opportunity. For others it's going to be people.

For me, it's all about being around natural, mountainous settings with lots of space and no chance of overcrowding for another 50 years. I want space, peace and quiet, and lots of sky. I want clean air and water. I don't want to live where the fast pace of life is 24/7. I'd rather live where shops still close on Sunday. I want land to grow a lot of my own food. If that means putting up with a reasonable amount of heat and humidity, I can work around that. If that means shorter growing seasons, I'll work around that, too. This is why western Montana, northern Idaho, eastern Oregon and northwestern Wyoming have been the main places that attract me.


Quote:
You can extend the growing season with a lot of different techniques, like cloches, hotbeds, even greenhouses. Every place will have its challenges - bugs, diseases, lack of water, too much water, irregular water, etc. Organic garden techniques ameliorates any problem and after a few years, it gets easier as you build the health of your soil and get the collection of insect helpers in balance. People have done this everywhere. There is no perfect place for self-sufficiency, but there can be a perfect place for you. It is all what you make of it.
Tesaje, this whole post (without my comments) should be made a sticky post in every forum where people are looking to relocate. I think it would take a lot of stress and unnecessary pressure off of a lot of people. Thank you so much for your thoughtful response!
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Old 04-12-2008, 12:21 PM
 
1,836 posts, read 4,458,581 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nocoldiron View Post
I have flowers almost all year-I live 14 miles from the ocean where it is warm enough to grow tomato's and corn.We have to wait till December or January to prune-it's hard to catch a dormant stage.We have to mow the lawn in the winter.
I think oceans and beaches are beautiful things. Living in coastal areas comes with a lot of perks! Oceans have a different kind of majesty to them that's completely different from a majestic moutain. I really like the coastal areas from northern California up through Oregon and Washington state. But, as much as I enjoy visiting the ocean once in awhile, I'm just not a coastal person when it comes to living year-round near one.

I love the mountains, forests, lakes, streams and wilderness. No desserts, oceans or plains. Although, if I were to be a plains person, I think parts of South Dakota would be the right place for me.
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