I live in San Jose California. We have great weather for growing fruit but our yards are tiny.
I work from home and my job gives me the option to live anywhere. Are there other places where I could get a home with a 1 acre lot with great weather to grow everything from cherries/apricots in May to Citrus in December?
I would really appreciate all inputs I can get - if you have any recommendations, please do share. I would like to check out some new places and move next school year!
You can get more land for your buck in areas like Modesto, Stockton, Sacamento and associated foothills up to Auburn, Oroville area, and the Red Bluff to Redding area.
Modesto and that area is the headquarters for DWN, Burchell nursery, and Zaiger genetics. That is a great fruit growing area with only minor frosts and more chilling than San Jose. Rainfall is around 13 inches.
Sacramento gets 18-30+ inches of rain depending on elevation, more higher up. Growing season is long and good chilling.
The Oroville to Redding area gets 20-40 inches of rain and more frost than farther south but still a very long season and some citrus potential.
Go on realtor.com and search for properties with acreage. You can get a nice place for 250-600K. A lot cheaper than San Jose.
I have peaches , pears, pecans and now figs fruiting in my yard that are plagued by pc, stink bugs, and extreme cold, but a glass half full type of person would see that here pawpaws, persimmons, blackberries, and black walnuts grow wild so I guess it really depends on what type of fruit you want to grow.
Any suggestions outside of CA? I’ve been thinking about the issue, as when my kids finish school (plenty of time- at least 7-8 years out) we could move out of the expensive and cold NE. But CA won’t work, as my wife is pretty tied to the idea of renting out properties and CA is among the worst places in the country to do that (along with MA).
I’ve been thinking about Arizona, but the question would be if there is an area which has enough water and doesn’t get late frosts. Hawaii was my first choice, but that was rejected (though not by me) due to the remoteness and cost of importing anything. North Carolina seems good from a property/rental standpoint, but I don’t think it is warm enough for me and the bug pressure could also be too high. Florida would be warm enough, but may have too many humidity/bug issues. I know- trying to optimize too many factors.
Basically: Warm- enough that there isn’t more than a month or so of days below 50F. Cold- enough to have at least a few chill hours (I’m flexible on this one- I can pluck leaves to simulate chill…) Wet- enough that I don’t risk my plants dieing without being able to water them (drought, water restrictions, etc) Dry- enough to not have too many bugs Cheap- Relatively low cost of living (or at least not the top). I’m very flexible on this one but my wife isn’t. Landloard Friendly- or at least middle of the road.
The first 4 seem to be general, while the last 2 are my own to add a bit of challenge.
You are going to have positives and negatives everywhere, but generally speaking I think the coastal plains of South Carolina through Louisiana is probably as good of place as any. Sure disease pressure will be high for any stone fruit. Apples generally don’t work. There are lots of temperate fruits that do work as well as some citrus. The climate is moist enough that you don’t have to irrigate all the time. You probably will have to use some pesticides to keep the bugs and plant diseases at bay. But land and taxes on land is generally low in most places. All said, I’m not in a terrible spot for most things. However, it’s too bad that I can’t grow Romance Series cherries, those are wonderful. God bless.
Well, I’m biased, but I think we’re in the sweet spot. Most berry plants do well here, as well as apples, pears, plums and cherries (tart, maybe some sweet). But, larger stone fruit like peaches, nects and apricots are risky, more likely to not get fruit every year because of late frosts. Persimmons and paw paws grow wild here. Of course citrus, pom’s, etc are no go. Figs? Don’t know. Black walnuts are prolific here, along with hickory. Pecans don’t do as well here. I guess it all depends what you want to grow. Veggie gardens would do better here than New England.
We get plenty of rain, almost too much in the summer, makes for humid, buggy conditions. Can’t remember having drought conditions here in four years. Highs in the summers never have been above 95, usually comfortable tho. But winters can be cold, not like CT, but maybe too much so for your future years.
Land is pretty cheap here where we’re at, but can get pricey in some areas around the big cities like Lexington and Louisville.
But, after writing all this, maybe Marcus is more right as far as climate goes. The SE, tho does seem to have quite a few droughts.
Central and south Texas might work out for you. Property taxes in TX can get ridiculous, especially around the big cities. But, no income tax to worry about either.
There are fruits not bothered by humidity like tropicals. But if you like to grow stone fruits you are going to get a taste of what humidity does and it’s not good.
All of you dreaming of any place but CA are thinking about growing different fruits than I am.
The original poster is in CA. He should stay there. It’s the only place you can grow almost any fruit without a lot of spraying. And you can easily grow much higher quality stone fruit in CA than in humid climates. This yr peach and nectarine were 10-15 brix in the northeast due to too much rain. With my setup and in CA twice that brix is possible.
The best fruit areas in AZ that aren’t blazing hot are at about 4500ft elevation. The best spot is probably Sedona and surrounding area. It would be good for a greenhouse setup like mine.
North Carolina to northern Georgia is about as good as it gets out east if you want some real chilling. I can’t stand the humidity, buds, and constant spraying. Fruit quality should be a little better than the NE but still a distant second to a climate where you can control water.
Everything- you name the fruit and I want to grow it. I’m not sure if the OP agrees, but with a name like “CrazyForFruits”, it’s a good bet.
South Texas is another possibility. I remember reading it is good from a landlord standpoint and seems pretty inexpensive. Maybe somewhere in the Corpus Christi area- it looks to be zone 9a-9b, with ~30 inches of rain.
Sedona looks like zone 8a-8b, with ~18" of rain. Is it good for a greenhouse because of the late frosts making outside growing tough? I suppose that is the problem with finding places which are warm, yet have some chill hours. I guess that it’s tough to turn your chill hours on and off as needed.
I’m not sure what I want in terms of chill hours. I know @applenut has had some success in simulating chill on apples in the tropics (leaf plucking, I think). Has that same type of methodology worked on stonefruits, jujubes, etc? If so, then it seems like it would be best to just avoid the cold altogether. No late frosts when there are no frosts at all…
California is ideal growing climate. Places like Kansas though inexpensive can be really expensive if you know what I mean. If you could imagine a cruel harsh environment that would be Kansas this week. I’m not exaggerating one bit when I say nothing should be outside right now. You cannot grow things like banana, oranges, mangos, macadamia etc. here. Why would anyone come here? I stay here because I understand it because I grew up here. If your from Siberia Kansas is an improvement. I’m suggesting where not to come I guess but the price is right for those people looking to retire.
I guess I should get the pom poms (or is it pome pomes) out and cheer for Western Washington and Western Oregon. It does get below 50f but it isn’t in tolerably cold. Water is not an issue with 38" a year. Summers have little rain for the most part. The scenery is stunning with mountains, lakes and the Sound. Lots of outdoor activities to keep the kids happy - biking, boating and skiing. Real estate is pricier around Seattle and Portland but good deals still can be found with acreage not too far away. Great restaurants, schools and culture abound…oh and the nurseries: Burnt Ridge, Raintree, Cloud Mountain, One Green World, Territorial, etc.
@CrazyForFruits: The best fruit growing conditions in the SF Bay area are around Brentwood, and it’s still not too expensive (by Bay area standards ) because it’s difficult to commute to/from. Central Valley is also very good for fruit growing (the choices are endless from Fresno in the south to Chico in the north) and relatively cheap if you don’t mind crazy summer heat and living in a rural area. I live in an unincorporated area just west of Tracy (about 50 minutes drive from San Jose in Sunday traffic) on 1.5 acres. Prices also grow very fast here as people are pushed from the Bay area, but still quite cheaper than in Santa Clara valley. The traffic is becoming more and more nightmarish every year as more people commute on I-580 from this area and Central Valley to their jobs in Silicon Valley.
@BobVance: Besides California, the next best thing for fruit growing (in the continental US), is Willamette Valley in Oregon. I have no idea whether Oregon is landlord friendly or not.
Do you really like that heat and humidity? If Texas is a choice, and it has many good qualities, then consider the Fredericksburg area. That’s where the best peaches in Texas are grown and at 1800ft it’s not quite as hot…
Sedona itself has a long frost free season and good chilling but get out of the best areas and spring frost becomes an issue. It’s a good area for a greenhouse because of a lot of sun and low humidity. It’s a lot like Alpine in that regards only better. It’s considered one of the premier spots in the whole country to retire.
I can get 1200-2000 chill hrs in my greenhouse, never have a freeze, and still have a 9-10 month growing season.
Applenut doesn’t simulate chilling. It’s apples that deserve all the credit. They can produce with no chilling but bloom 1-3 months late. You can’t do that with stone fruit. You have to go with low chill varieties which limits your choices.
I’d give a strong vote for Greenville SC. It meets just about all your requirements, imo. My daughter and her husband live there. When I’ve visited, the weather is always wonderful (but as @Clark alludes, us folks from KS/MO probably have pretty low standards for weather). Still, this website ranks the overall comfort index at 69, which is above average, and probably beats CT (KCMO is 46 for a comfort index.)
It doesn’t get very cold there (relatively speaking). Of course it gets freezing temps in the wintertime, but my daughter says it’s nothing like KS/MO (She says people start complaining how cold it is when it gets to 32F.) She says it doesn’t get as hot there either (or doesn’t feel as hot).
As you know, SC is the #2 peach state, so stone fruits are definitely doable. They do get about 50 inches of rain/year which is bad. I don’t know how much is in the summertime (of course timing of rainfall is more important than amount of annual rain). The soil is light there (compared to here) so it drains well.
It’s very cheap to live there, on account of SC having a lower than average per capita income (43rd out of 50).
It’s very landlord friendly because of the Med. school. All the med students want to rent instead of buy. And they are good renters (pay on time and don’t trash the place). My daughter and her husband were renting for a while and decided to buy a house because the rent was so outrageous. They bought a very nice brick starter home and their house payment is less than 1/2 the cost of renting (including taxes and insurance!)
When my daughter moved there @MuddyMess_8a told me it was a great place to live (she lives in Columbia, SC) and she was right. @rayrose also lives in Columbia and @Kate lives in Spartanburg, so maybe they will chime in with a yea or nay.