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Climate vs gardening--what's great in your area?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I thought this would be a fun topic.

I love gardening, and I have lived in some distinctly different climates.

I was born in the NE corner of India Assam state,, and spent my youngest years there. We had bananas, guavas, pomelos, mangoes, pineapples and other tropical fruits growing there. Rice thrives there and bamboo makes tall shady forests 100' tall. Chile plants are perennial--think a big woody shrub. It's also one tea capital of the world.

My teen years were mostly in the Himalayas at about 7000'. The climate was good for apples and other deciduous fruit trees. Potatoes grew great there. Tropical fruits had to be brought from the lowlands, and were less fresh and more expensive. What I consider the world's best basmati rice grew on the plains below in the Dehra Dun region, clearly visible from where I was.

I lived in New Jersey, where my dad is from, and it's ideal for temperate veges and fruits. The tomatoes and bluberries there can't be beat. Precipitation is nearly steady year-round, except for the occasional tropical storm.

Then I lived in western Oregon, another temperate place like New Jersey, but with dry Summers and wet dark Winters. It's great for a lot of the same things as NJ is, but Summer watering is important for a lot of things. It's the grass seed capital of the world--the climate is perfect for it. It's also a great wine region, attempting to be like Bordeaux and perhaps not falling too far short.

Now I'm in the central Oregon desert and almost nothing is easy to grow. Winters are cold and snowy. Summers are very dry and there's an occasional frost except maybe in July. Sure, produce is grown here, but it's not that easy. The soil is ok in some isolated pockets but in general not that great.

What is your area known for? What can you plant and ignore, and turns out great? My favorite corn, I had in Wisconsin. Fresh Georgia pecans are out of this world. There are so many other places to "taste" :crazy:
post #2 of 12
Salt Lake is a semi-arid area, getting something like an average of 15 inches of rain a year. It can be hot and dry in the summer, gardens need proper tending. I used to be more conscientious about it, but I've gotten fairly lazy about it the last couple of years. And of course the quality and quantity of the crop shows this.

I remember a few years back I went off to some vintage race, either Mid Ohio or Elkhart Lake, can't remember which one. It was mid summer, and the 3 or 4 tomato plants in my garden were a bit over knee high, sporting a few blossoms here and there. The trip to the race included a couple days to visit my father in Indianapolis. I get to his house, we chat for a bit, blah blah and I look out the glass doors into his backyard. I was amazed. He had about a 50 - 60 square foot plot of tomato plants, all of which were taller than I was. A nice vibrant green, laden with blossoms and fruit in various stages of ripeness. Quite an impressive sight compared to my meager patch back home. I guess the Midwest does get a bit more moisture than Utah.

There are some things that do well here in Utah, though. A town in the central part of the state, Green River, is known for melons of various sorts. Up around Bear Lake raspberries are famous. And there are still some nice fruit orchards strung along the foot of the Wasatch Mountains where subdivisions and Wal Marts haven't taken over.

mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #3 of 12
Unfortunately, the number one cash crop in America is subdivisions. :(

It's true, every area is different in terms of soil conditions, amount of moisture, available sunlight, length of growing season. But vegetables are so adaptable that we can usually cope wherever we live.

Just sometimes you get spoiled.

When I lived in northern Illionis we had 12 feet of black dirt, with nary a rock nor pebble. My neighbors used to buy boulders and have them trucked in to use as decorations. Heck, they can drive down here and take all they want from me for free.

But the soil! They used to say of that region if you planted a nail at night by morning you'd harvest a spike.

Then I moved here, where the "soil" is such pure clay you can dig it up and throw it on a potter's wheel. Takes me three years of serious amending to develop any sort of tilth.

So there's a trade-off. I have a longer growing season. And can grow a wider diversity of crops. But it takes considerably more work to build good soil.

As to what grows good. Well, if chickweed were a cash crop we'd all be wealthy around here.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #4 of 12
What is my area known for?
Marijuana.
And really, really big trees.


We also have some good apple farms in the area, most notably Clenenden's and Arrington's.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
I envy no other part of the USA except when it comes to gardening. Well that and NJ Italian food. Here, I can to some extent make my own soil, but I can't change the climate. I can make a greenhouse or something like that (making my own microclimate). When RPMcMurphy started his thread about making a garden, I wished I could have the possibilities he does.

Maybe some of you have suggestions for me in this short growing season? :D
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
:lol: on the marijuana . . . hey, you have the city of Weed there in northern CA too.

I love those redwoods. There aren't many forests of trees bigger than the Douglas Fir we have in the Cascades, but you guys sure have some.
post #7 of 12
Where exactly in Central Oregon are you? Checking in with your County Extension agent would be a start. There are Master Gardener programs for each county and they'd know a lot about what to plant where and when. Here's the link for Oregon: Oregon State University Master Gardener Program | Master Gardener

I moved from Los Angeles, CA to Bellingham, Washington just 14 months ago and am currently completing the local Master Gardener program. Talk about a change in climate and planting habits! But I've learned a lot. Remember, farming is very big up here in the Northwest. And there are more hours of summer daylight (well, uh, maybe not for this particular summer :cry: ) than down South. Also, last winter, my lettuces survived even through being frozen from time to time. They'd just thaw out in the ground and keep growing, no problem with taste either. I'm trying other winter crops as well this time around.

Best of luck!
Emily

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"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
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Emily

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"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
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post #8 of 12
Where we live is just by the Carse of Gowrie. In Tayside/Perthshire/and a wee bit of Angus (Scotland) and we're famous for our raspberries
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank You, Phoebe :D

I'm in Bend, at about 3600' and with about 10" of precipitation a year, which is usually more snow than rain.

From an Oregon State University reference:
We have generally light-textured soils, low in organic matter, nutrient content, and water-holding capacity. The growing season is about 90 days. Also, large fluctuations in daytime and nighttime temperatures, often as much as 40-45°F, affect vegetable and fruit production.

They recommend root crops and cruciferous vegetables, and they say there can be success with lettuce. Ok, I love potatoes, carrots and collard greens, but I'm still really limited.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm not whining, though. I love it here. I chose to move here. But there's no dropping a nail in the soil and having a spike by the next morning.
post #11 of 12
Wow! I didn't realize you were up in Bend. Here in Whatcom County we've got somewhere around 150 days not counting winter crops if you use row covers when the temps get really low. Any possibility of a green house?

You originally asked about our gardens: right now I've got tomatoes (with fingers crossed that late blight doesn't strike), lettuces, and chard with broccoli (fighting the flea beetles), carrots, b-sprouts, cabbage, and peppers coming along. I harvested Walla Walla onions and garlic a month or so ago and raspberries even longer ago. The non-native, super-invasive blackberries are coming in now. Our area is known for great raspberries and blue berries, something I had to pay a lot for in L.A. But boy don't I miss having a lemon tree :(
Emily

______________________

"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
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Emily

______________________

"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
Reply
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
On the west side of both Oregon and Washington, you can grow just about anything but bananas without a lot of effort. It's much different here in the desert, as you know.

I recently read a great article on soil, and it's fun reading (for me, at least)--National Geographic's September issue has an article on soil, with stories from different parts of the world. The article is titled "Our Good Earth". I imagine that readers who thought soil wasn't a significant thing to people's well-being, will probably change their mind.
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