Gardening.It is a Regional Thing!
The story of pH.
I have lived in many areas of the United States and indeed around the world and something I have found is not all areas are equal when it comes to gardening. That may seem like an obvious thing but there are a many things that make this so.I basically grew up in Northern California and have now been transplanted to Northern Texas. At first it all seemed as though things were fairly equal but then I tried a few things that had less than the desired affects. There are some very good reasons for this I have since discovered. The first thing is that almost anything will grow in Northern California. The days are warm and even hot during the growing seasons but it cools down at night. This second part is not true in the Dallas area. During the summer you rarely get down below 80 degrees. This is also true in many parts of the south. most plants need a little cooling down after a hard day of photosynthesis.
Another discovery I made (well I didn’t discover it but found it out) was something about pH. What that is is the amount of acid or alkaline in the soils. In effect it can turn change the amount of different nutrients available to plants. If I had to guess (and I really have not looked this up) but I would say California for the most part was pretty neutral at about 6.5-7 on a scale of 1-14. Here where I live we run about 8.5 which is very high alkaline and some plants can’t tolerate this. Blueberries for example need a pH of 4.5 to 5. They will fail here unless they are planted in containers. Many people come down here from up north and, oh yes you can go to the big orange and the big blue big box stores and buy them here but they fail to realize the soil has a built in failure waiting for them when they get home. Please do not let a plant’s local availability be your guide. A better way to determine what grows well in your region is to look at what grows well in the neighbor’s yards. Another way to know is to call your local Extension Office to ask what grows well there and get them to process a soil sample for you. Armed with all of this information what will tolerate the temperatures and what pH is locally you can make plant selection which is really the key considering the above variable a much easier and successful endeavor. Remember wherever you live it is a regional thing. Next article will cover some of the other major factors that will lead you to much more success in your future gardening.