Best State

eric_in_sd_z4(5)January 16, 2008

Where, in your opinion, is the best state condusive to vegetable gardening and why?

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hamiltongardener(CAN 6a)

Planning a move?

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 9:05PM
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Yes kinda. I'm at that junction where I'm exploring my options and am ready for a career change. I'm also getting at that age where the snow and cold is giving me some concern as to what it will be like when I get older.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 10:10PM
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Maryland has great soil, good weather conditions, etc.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 11:17PM
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The best state for me is the one I am growing vegetables in at the time. I have to adapt to conditions, but every state has advantages for specific plants. For a generalization tho, Look to California, which is the major vegetable producing area in the USA.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 9:02AM
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anney(Georgia 8)

eric in sd

I also relocated to the South when the northeast weather got to me. I didn't think I could stand one more year of the bitter winter cold with its ugly oil-splashed snow beside the highways, so many people, and commuting time to work. But the gardening was great, I must say, less because of the winter weather than the soil and "eagerness" of garden plants to grow.

Maybe you should identify some places that have the kind of weather you'd like to live in and then decide which is best for gardening. The farther south you move, the more "growing days" you'll have for crops, so the more freedom to choose varieties.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 9:18AM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

Yes, winters are long up north. They are kind of long here too, but not as bad the further south you go. So, many of us wish for just a bit more warmth early and late in the season. All in all, states like Indiana and Illinois have some good to excellent soil and good growing weather for most vegetable and many fruit crops.

In driving through the south and eastern parts of this country it is depressing to me how much hilly and clayey soil there is there to this farm belt guy. I suppose though that there are many good garden spots hiding there though.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 11:37AM
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crabjoe(z7 MD)

[quote] * Posted by drscott 7 (My Page) on
Wed, Jan 16, 08 at 23:17

Maryland has great soil, good weather conditions, etc.[/quote]


I think this really depends on where one is in MD.

I'm up on the bluff above Port Deposit (At the mouth of the Susquehanna River) and all I have is clay with chunks of granite in it. You can't grow anything in it without removing the rocks and amending the clay. My parents live over in Hunt Valley (Northern Baltimore County). They have almost great soil. I say almost because their dirt is a little to sandy so it needs frequent watering. My Aunt in Bethesda has great soil. Anything and everything she plants grows well.

As to the weather, it's pretty good because we have all 4 seasons. Winters a a little mild but summers can be brutal with high humidity and little rain.

The thing I can say for the soil and weather here is that it's workable. What I'm saying is that if you don't like your soil, you can move or amend it because everything is available here. So in that sense, I can agree with drscott. :)

BTW the best all around soil I've seen was just out side of Kansas City, MO. My other aunt lived there and I was always amazed at the quality of soil there.

Oh.... I should also say that my opinion is based on what I've seen here in MD and I've always lived just west of the Chesapeake Bay. That might be the difference in opinion between myself and drscott. I can also tell you that on the East side of the bay, like most all coastal areas, it all sand and mosquitoes. Not little mosquitoes, but these big giant suckers the size of eagles.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 1:47PM
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It all depends on what you want to grow.
Also, if you move south to get away from cold winters, note
that insects and diseases have done the same thing.

Perhaps somewhere like Kentucky would be a good compromise...
plus they have plenty of horse poo for fertilizer!


    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 3:04PM
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fishymamas(z9, So. CA)

Califonia is great *if* you can afford the land to garden on. Still beyond gardening, I can drive 45 mins away and be in snow covered mountains for a snowball fight, or I can drive 90 mins west and be at the beach. I'm sure most ppl hare have heb gardens larger than my "back garden" , but it's mine, and that makes working it sweeter. Before buying anyplace, get a soil test done unless the price is so good that you can afford to ammend away.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 3:19PM
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macheske(6/7 NorthernVA)

I've lived in MD, KS, MI, AZ, CA, NM, NY, and VA. For gardening I would choose VA. Actually, overall I would choose VA. CA was nice except like others have said, get ready to pay alot for a lot that could barely fit a house. I lived in the south bay of LA area when they were tearing down the nice little (~800 sq ft) houses and putting up "two on a lots". Not much room for gardening left then! AZ was too hot for me. I decided to leave when the soles of my shoes smelled really bad one day. I looked down and noticed they had melted! MI was too cold for me, and the overcast weather was depressing. NM was very nice but where I was the ground was all decomposed granite. Only pinion pine trees would grow and they took 100 years to get to 8' tall, lol. Maybe it would make sense to pull out the zone map. We're at the top of zone 7 here. There are a few things that can't grow easily but not much.
Just my opinion...

    Bookmark   January 18, 2008 at 6:16AM
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I'd agree that every place has it's pros and cons. We've had these discussions here before and it always seems to come back to the mid-atlantic as being a good average: tends to have good soil, long growing season but has real winter, good average precip, not too expensive, and so on.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2008 at 10:02AM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

I lived on the coast of North Carolina till I was 18. Too hot. Then I lived in Hawaii for 2 years. Very nice but very expensive. I spent the next 18 yrs in Maine and Massachusetts. Too cold. I've now been in western Maryland for 18 yrs and I really like it but I miss those cool Massachusett summers.

We aren't troubled by mosquitos...but you can have the gnats. The summers are a bit humid but the mornings and evenings are very pleasant. The area is very scenic and the growing season is plenty long.

Best of all, I have awesome soil. I rarely have to water (as long as I mulch) It's nice and loamy, no rocks or stones, except for a couple of old civil war musket balls.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2008 at 12:03PM
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with regard to the mid atlantic, specifically MD, the drawback in extremely short season transition spring to summer / fall to winter. There's not much time for spring/fall crops.

I'm in the Frederick Valley in MD although very fertile soils, lots of clay pan too.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2008 at 12:25PM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

Ristau, I'm in Washington County, just over the mountain from Burkittsville and 18 miles from Frederick. Are you in the Middletown Valley? That area is known for the rich fertile farm land...then the developers discovered it.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2008 at 2:53PM
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ole_dawg(7 UpCountry SC)

The problem in most of the Carolinas, Georgia, AL, is the clay. It is rich, but you do have to work at it. It is not a problems for me as yet as I grow in containers and raised beds and almost only Cole Crops. The yeald is higher, however my neighbor has worked his soil and get greats results. I know, I eat his corn and Toms.

1eyedJack and the Dawg

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 2:53PM
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anney(Georgia 8)

ole dawg

Maybe you should branch out a little. Note the lush and verdant growth in undisturbed clay areas. You can see it even better when you're in a plane, a carpet of green with a few cities/towns and quarries, maybe.

Here in central Georgia, it's ALL red clay, but with raised beds and the growing medium on top of it, long roots burrow down into the clay and really thrive as long as the soil stays relatively moist under the compost. Corn, tomatoes, melons, beans, pretty much the gamut of vegetables, grow very well for me.

But if I'd had to till and mix in compost, believe me, I'd grow most everything in containers, too! Clay soil is hard to work for sure, even if plants like it. The trick is to forget about tilling and use raised beds, or plow if you have the equipment and mix the goodies into the soil without so much backbreaking work.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 3:33PM
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ole_dawg(7 UpCountry SC)

I agree about the raised beds. But right now money is tight. SEPT 18, the first SS check. More than enough to live on up here and with the substituting money going into THE GARDEN.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 3:03AM
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I wish I had a trifle o' that red clay here and in floridy.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 8:39AM
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South East Tennessee---rich soil--good weather---plenty of rain---- and moonshine

    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 3:36PM
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grandad_2003(9A/sunset 28)

My ditto's on the no "best state" comments... all locations have positives & negatives.

Down here in "bayou country" gardening is a 365 day per year
activity. Something is always growing in the garden. I find the fall/winter garden far more pleasurable than the summer/spring garden - fewer weeds, fewer insect pests, comfortable temps, also the cole crops are my favorite.

Not too many problems with cold down here. But, the July/August heat can be brutal....moreso on the gardener than the garden.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2008 at 3:54PM
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susandonb(NC 7)


I moved to North Carolina 6 years ago from Massachusetts. I adore the long growing season here. The soil can be tricky, but my husband and I have learned that with some additions, such as leaves, grass clippings, plough down crops we have wonderful brown loose soil full of nutrients! We have grown just about everything you can think of and done great. We are on the VA border side of NC and the weather is wonderful. I still have broccoli and cabbage in the garden now and will be putting in cool crops, potatos and onions in early March.

Best Wishes with you life adventure,
Susan in NC

    Bookmark   January 22, 2008 at 8:09PM
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Eric, I vote for my state of Va, but just about any place in Zone-7 is good for a wide range of veggies and fruits. But where ever you go don't buy a home that has a yard where all the top soil was scraped away by the builder. I got lucky and found an older 100 YO home that still has soil that reminds me of chocolate cake. When looking for a new home take along a shovel ;o)

    Bookmark   January 23, 2008 at 10:40AM
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