Happy New Year, Folks!
For my long-time followers, you have probably realized that I am no longer in Charleston, SC. If you are new to my blog, I had lived the past 22 years in Charleston and my blog was heavily centered on being in that location.
Many of my articles were fairly generic and were useful for anybody, anywhere, in the world. Today, I wanted to give you some food for thought on what goes into a move from a gardener's perspective. Especially, if it is to a different USDA growing zone.
If you have never seen this map, it is very useful when trying to figure out what to grow, when to plant it, and when you can expect cold/freezing temperatures. Just to let you know, Charleston was a Zone 8b, almost a 9a. I am now in a 7b, just over an entire zone difference.
I know what some of you are asking, "What is the big deal?" It can't be that different?
Check out this, Average Last Frost Date and you tell me.
I went from March 15th being my last average frost to April 15th. I have lost a month of growing time.
Ok, before I move one, please do not think this is a whining article, I moved here knowing what to expect. The purpose of this writing is to help folks with some resources to learn about their new environment quicker that they may not have thought about, or, just open up some new information for you to seek out even if you have lived in your current spot for decades. This article is/was how I am learning my new surroundings.
The maps above are one of the greatest tools at your disposal. Remember to take them with a grain of salt, they are just averages. Some years might be earlier, some later. There is always going to be a little luck of the draw when it comes to the weather.
Observation. When you are learning a new area while riding around, look at other yards in the neighborhood. A plant that looks really healthy, happy, and growing well is probably a good choice for you. If it looks like it has been whacked back by the cold, melted by the heat, or is just growing weird, you should take that into consideration too. For example, this Sago Palm.
If you are used to it being pretty all the time and move somewhere that might be a tad colder, this will require more work on your part.
County Extension Offices. Extension offices are departments located in local counties and universities. These offices are run by university employees and volunteers that are experts in local crops, landscaping, soil, gardening, pests, and more. Almost every single county in the United States has an extension office, and the offices are supported by state universities. Find Your Local Office
Local Independent Garden Center. I am not talking big box stores here, they receive plants from a buyer that might be hundreds of miles away and usually have no idea of the proper planting times for things. No, I am talking about the mom and pop type places that are not national chains. There are literally thousands of them around the country. If you want an idea of what I am talking about, check out this link for the top 100 Independent Garden Centers in the country.
Gardening and yard work have always been a little luck, a little knowledge, and a whole bunch of trial and error. That will probably never change. But, if you go into it with as much knowledge and information as you can, your success rate will rise dramatically.
If you have any questions about this or any of my other articles, please feel free to drop me an e-mail to TheCitrusGuy@netzero.net or .com. You can also follow me on Facebook.