Best micro climates in the country for growing!

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fiorgodx's picture
fiorgodx
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Best micro climates in the country for growing!

I am considering moving to a new location. The criteria are:

1) Reasonably far from huge population centers that will come guns blazing looking for food
2) Strong local community, self-sufficient culture
3) Good growing season

I realize this overall topic has been discussed in other threads, but I wanted to focus on micro climates. Anyone know of any particular pockets of the country where the weather is particularly favorable for a long healthy growing season for whatever reason?
 

robie robinson's picture
robie robinson
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I regularly visit

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burke%27s_Garden,_Virginia Burkes garden VA. It truly is a garden of Eden.

Robie

Locavorous's picture
Locavorous
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"Cascadia"

If you've read any Steve Solomon, like "Gardening When it Counts", his experience and unabashed bias towards Cascadia is worth considering.

Just don't tell anyone you're from CA, and you may make a friend or two in your first 5 years! (google 'seattle freeze' for more info. folks ain't exactly outgoing here.)

We have plenty of fresh water, some anadromous fish, good local agriculture, low population, is close to Canada and lots of salt water to explore.

The only thing I worry about now, besides the Golden Horde, is the next ice age...

txgirl69's picture
txgirl69
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Pac NW Micro-clime

I live west of Olympia.... The growing season is a little longer because the winters are mild, mostly just around or above freezing, there is a lot of moisture in the fall and spring - sometimes summer, too (unfortunately). There are lots of wells and springs, fresh water supplies are relatively easy to find.

I got a book by Steve Solomon for Christmas last year, "Gardening West of the Cascades." Great book, it really helped my learning curve. I use it like a Bible.....

I agree with Locavorous - folks ain't real friendly in this part of the world. It's been rough on me. 

 

Best of Luck!

 

 

tictac1's picture
tictac1
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Santa Cruz county, CA,

Santa Cruz county, CA, preferably above the fog line.  You can grow almost anything, from carrots to tomatoes, year-round.  The natural soil is excellent, rainfall is adequate but not too much (acidifies the soil).  Lots of slef-help types, but also lots of hippies...:)

YoungEntrepreneur's picture
YoungEntrepreneur
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Hey txgirl69...

Am considering Eastern Washington so you mind if I hit you up on PM with some questions?

Interested to hear more about what the people and cultural trends there are like. Pluses and minuses of living in the region. I once had a room-mate from Seattle and there were differences. 

I'm also considering other parts of the Pacific Northwest and Intermountain Area. I prefer to stay away from the coasts and at least 200+ miles away from the major cities (300+ miles is from the super metros). I definitely want my retreat to be a true safe haven, I can then simply rent a small apartment in a 2nd tier city for convenience and breaking things up when I need it. Something that would be easy to walk away from and relatively cheap to maintain as a part-time hang-out or meeting area. 

You're close to Seattle. Any concerns there? Must have been a real change to go from Texas to near Seattle. I expect my move to be quite a shock as well but I'm quite adapatable and open to most things minus a few pet peeves.

Good luck over there and let me know more thoughts about what it's like. Thanks.

YE 

ao's picture
ao
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YoungEntrepreneur wrote: Am
YoungEntrepreneur wrote:

Am considering Eastern Washington so you mind if I hit you up on PM with some questions?

Once you get over the mountains, you're in a rain shadow and as I recall from a trip from Seattle out to Yakima, eastern Washington (at least in the Yakima region) is very dry.  The soil is fertile but irrigation canals are needed.  Also, this area was downwind from the volcanic dust plume generated by Mount St. Helens.  When Mt. St. Helens blew, they needed to call in the National Guard to clean the streets, that's how deep the volcanic ash was.  And Yakima is about 100 miles away, if memory serves me correctly.

http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/ash/dickzais.html  

SteveW's picture
SteveW
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YoungEntrepreneur wrote: Am
YoungEntrepreneur wrote:

Am considering Eastern Washington so you mind if I hit you up on PM with some questions?

I consider the high plateau region toward Spokane to be Eastern Washington rather than the Yakima valley. This region produces a large wheat crop but it is naturally semi-arid and relies upon irrigation.

The Olympic penisula West of Seattle is largely forested beyond Port Angeles. On the West coast there are many small streams flowing down from the Olympic mountains where one should be able to homestead. Much of the area is National Forest.

Before making any move you should investigate the areas of interest.  

 

Doug's picture
Doug
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Eastern WA

Like ao and SteveW said, you have to irrigate east of the mountains.  Very right wing, to the point of being really annoying.  Down around the tri-city area (Kennewick, Pasco, Richland) is nice country.  There were a lot of vineyards, orchards and truck farms many years ago when I lived there.  I prefer the western part of the state, particularly for farming.  My g'father had a small farm near Burlington that was amazingly productive. You get used to the rain, and the summers are usually nice.  And, having access to Puget Sound is wonderful.  The rains are mostly in the cold season, and they help the crops grow.  Beautiful country just about everywhere in WA state. 

Doug

mooselick7's picture
mooselick7
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Ponder this...

Here are 6 points to ponder...

First, consider where you call home.  If you have lived in a particular area for any length of time, then you have established relationships, roots and connections.  You know the lay of the land.  You know the advantages and disadvantages of that community.  That is capital that you CAN NOT buy or develop quickly!

If you are in an urban environment, then it is prudent to get away from it.  But, just like I would'nt be safe or comfortable in the streets of a major metro city, you shouldnt assume that you will be safe or comfortable in rural Wyoming.  Even in the least populated per land area state in the lower 48, there are still security dangers both natural and man-made. 

Second, if you insist on moving, consult a hardiness zone map.  http://www.hardiness-zone-map.com/  The lower the number the more difficult your gardening life will be.   I live in Zone 3.  On an acre and half, I have an unheated 22x48 ft greenhouse full of cool season/warm season vegetables, rabbits, chickens, 14 apple trees, chokecherries,  cherries, pears, currants, rasberries and aspargras.  All this is done biodynamically.  Im confident that I can grow our own food for a family of 3.  However, it takes a lot of work.  It is pretty much a full time job for one person.

Third, narrow down your location choices in the hardiness zone that you are comfortable in to properties with 1) good water 2) good sun and 3) Good soil.  You can build up soil.  You can work around indirect sunlight.  You CAN NOT build or work around lack of good water.   Use www.landandfarm.com or www.tulia.com to look at properties.

Fourth, talk to gardening clubs, county extension agents, master gardeners, local organic and biodynamic growers in the area you are considering.  Ask about early/late frosts, hail, wind, too much rain, too little rain, what crops do best, what crops fail...

Fifth, consider total nutrition.  If you think you are going to live on a vegan diet in this part of the country, you are dreaming.  Study the website: www.wapf.org.   There is NO way without a host of degenerative diseases that I could work the garden without grass fed animal protein and fats.

Sixth, it takes a good solid 10 years of gardening and husbandry experience of a particular soil and climate to raise food intensively in a small space in amounts generous enough to sustain one person or a family.   My mother-in-law has been raising her own food on a suburban city lot all her life.  It can be done.  But she has 70 years of experience doing it.  Now at 78 years, she cant do it anymore.

 

 

 

 

 

ao's picture
ao
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biodynamic gardening

Good post Mooselick,

Any good online sources or books you could recommend on biodynamic gardening?  One of the most beautiful and productive vegetable gardens I've ever seen (25 years ago) was biodynamic and I'd like to learn more about it.

mooselick7's picture
mooselick7
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This year was my first in

This year was my first in biodynamic gardening and, bear in mind, this is from an enginerd, I am very impressed with the results!  The vegies had a lot less bugs, grew with more vigor, more foliage and taste better.    I think the entire property benefitted from the preps.

Bare in mind, that biodynamics is all about getting your head out of the internet, the computer and the entire un-natural world.  And, getting it into the natural, ethreal and yes, spiritual world.  So, the great biodynamics people have minimal internet contact to maximize their time in nature. 

I would start with Hugh Lovel's book, Biodynamic Farm. http://www.amazon.com/Biodynamic-Farm-Growing-Wholesome-Food/dp/0911311459/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1315263405&sr=1-1

Then get a Biodynamic calendar to plant by moon.  This is the best one. I found the planting by the moon to be liberating on many levels.  http://www.amazon.com/American-Biodynamic-Sowing-Planting-Calendar/dp/0863157564/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1315263334&sr=8-1

Next, I would order up some preps from Josephine Porter.  Also she can provide some online counselling.  http://www.jpibiodynamics.org/

Next, watch How to Save the World for inspiration.  http://www.amazon.com/How-Save-World-Barbara-Sumner-Burstyn/dp/B000MTOWXA

After that I would just do it.  Dont worry about not getting it just right.  It is really simple.  I did more thinking and worrying about it that just doing it.  Then work toward developing your own preps....

   Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
    Fillet of a fenny snake,
    In the caldron boil and bake;
    Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
    Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
    Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
    Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing,—
    For a charm of powerful trouble,
    Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
    Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
    Scale of dragon; tooth of wolf;
    Witches' mummy; maw and gulf
    Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark;
    Root of hemlock digg'd i the dark;
    Liver of blaspheming Jew;
    Gall of goat, and slips of yew
    Sliver'd in the moon's eclipse;
    Nose of Turk, and Tartar's lips;
    Finger of birth-strangled babe
    Ditch-deliver'd by a drab,—
    Make the gruel thick and slab:
    Add thereto a tiger's chaudron,
    For the ingrediants of our caldron.

ao's picture
ao
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Posts: 2220
flow
mooselick7 wrote:

Bare in mind, that biodynamics is all about getting your head out of the internet, the computer and the entire un-natural world.  And, getting it into the natural, ethreal and yes, spiritual world.  So, the great biodynamics people have minimal internet contact to maximize their time in nature. 

Thanks for the tips Mooselick.  I look forward to investigating it.

Your statement above has a lot of truth to it.  I feel for folks who live in urban areas and have minimal to no contact with nature.  There's a peace and calm that one obtains by slipping away from man's peripatetic pace to the soothing rhythms of nature that is difficult to achieve in any other way.  

mooselick7's picture
mooselick7
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Posts: 192
ao wrote: mooselick7
ao wrote:
mooselick7 wrote:

Bare in mind, that biodynamics is all about getting your head out of the internet, the computer and the entire un-natural world.  And, getting it into the natural, ethreal and yes, spiritual world.  So, the great biodynamics people have minimal internet contact to maximize their time in nature. 

Thanks for the tips Mooselick.  I look forward to investigating it.

Your statement above has a lot of truth to it.  I feel for folks who live in urban areas and have minimal to no contact with nature.  There's a peace and calm that one obtains by slipping away from man's peripatetic pace to the soothing rhythms of nature that is difficult to achieve in any other way.  

That's a big 10-4, Rubber Duck...

 

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