Determine Your New Zone: Even before you move, the first order of gardening business should be determining your new growing zone. This will give you a starting place for researching new plants, as well as help you determine the odds as to whether or not any of your current plants will successfully make the trip. Keep in mind though, the growing zone is just one broad part of your new gardening picture. Local climates, even across the same Hardiness Zone, are often dramatically different due to soil types, daytime temperatures, day length, wind, humidity, and heat. Determining your zone is a good starting point, but you still need to determine for yourself what will and won't work in your garden.
Use this USDA map to determine your new zone:
Seek Out Master Gardeners: Master Gardeners are citizen volunteers trained by county extension agricultural agents. This training enables them to be effective resources in their local communities, where they volunteer their time to a wide range of gardening projects. Not only do Master Gardeners enjoy sharing their knowledge of and enthusiasm for gardening with others, but because they live in your community, they are well connected to what is happening locally in the garden world. They can help you find reputable nurseries, local gardening clubs, horticulture classes, and alert you to plant sales. Another great way to learn about your new zone (and meet new people) is to become a Master Gardener yourself. There are Master Gardener Programs affiliated with most land-grant universities throughout the United States.
Follow this link to find contact information for one your area:
Contact Your County Extension Agency: Each U.S. state and territory has a state Extension Office at its land-grant university and a network of local or regional offices. These offices are staffed by one or more experts who can provide you with useful, practical, and research-based information on gardening in your area.
Get Yourself a Library Card: Libraries are a great way to meet people and exchange ideas, and almost every city has one (or at least one close by). Here you'll find one of the best and most under-utilized free resources available- especially to people who are relocating. Most libraries offer a good selection of regional gardening books and magazines. Check a few out for free and then decide which ones are worth buying.
Have your soil tested: Take the time to have your soil tested. Even if you're moving to an area with a reputation for a certain soil type, the soil may have been altered by the home's previous owners. A soil test gives you current information on the nutrient levels and chemical characteristics of your new garden's soil, which helps prevent over-applying fertilizer, saves you money, and protects environmental quality. It also enables you to provide plants with the best foundation possible, which can help offset any mistakes you make while learning to grow new types of plants
About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com
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Fantastic advice! Also find a local yahoo gardening group in your area; where you can give and get plants freely! Just share joy in the idea of gardening!
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