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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Ellsie Equanimity on May 01, 2016, 03:27:57 PM

Title: How to compare climate for gardening
Post by: Ellsie Equanimity on May 01, 2016, 03:27:57 PM
My husband and I are looking into areas we may want to move to someday and doing some comparisons. Knowing that we want to do a lot of gardening (but having not done much gardening yet - we're planning to start this year with someone who is loaning us garden space) what should we be looking for to compare how well we can garden in future locations?

I have seen info on rainfall, sunny days, highs in July, lows in Jan, etc. But are there places you can find out about things like soil quality or how long the growing season really is? How much will soil quality matter or how much can we affect this ourselves? What else should we be looking for?

P.S. We are basically looking at places in a few neighboring states in the Midwest so we're not talking about huge differences, but I know there are some differences with growing season length, etc.
Title: Re: How to compare climate for gardening
Post by: PhysicianOnFIRE on May 01, 2016, 05:13:58 PM
You've probably already looked at Zone #, which has more to do with the lowest lows seen in the winter, but it helps you know what can survive.

As far as soil quality, it varies a lot from one mile to the next, so you'd have to look at specific properties.  You can have sand next to clay next to fertile black dirt.

Title: Re: How to compare climate for gardening
Post by: cerat0n1a on May 02, 2016, 01:04:49 AM
I would agree that it depends a lot on the individual property. The previous owner of my house was a keen gardener and spent nearly 30 years adding compost, manure etc. I've been here 15 years and kept chickens, been adding more organic matter the whole time. The soil is in superb condition. If I look at some of the neighbours' gardens, the builders leveled the ground using rubble and then a few inches of top soil was added on top of that. Sure the date of last frost, amount of sun & rain will be the same, but not the soil. Obviously, you can improve the condition of it, but it takes time to do.

Equally, if I go a few hundred yards up or down the hill, it makes quite a difference - cold air sinks into the valley in winter and they get more frost. On top of the hill is quite exposed and windy and as the wind makes a measurable difference to crop yields, the farmers plant hedges as windbreaks.

Best advice might be to check out what's growing well locally?