What grows well here? (Carolinas)

BrionB Posts: 2 ✭✭✭
edited April 2022 in Garden Design

Good morning!

I am new to growing food. What are some ways for me to learn what grows best in my area by season? We have a new home in the Carolinas at the 3200 foot level, so cold weather can run from September to April. It is also a forested property, so if we need 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight we will need to clear some land. But it would be helpful to know what can grow at this elevation in partial shade.

We also have to travel a good bit, so I am also trying to figure out how to grow food while being absent sometimes for one to two weeks.  Considering Kratky method, but animals would need a baby sitter, I assume

Would our local extension office be a good resource? Other suggestions? Thank you so much for your advice!

Have a great day!

Best Answers

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,462 admin
    Answer ✓

    Welcome @BrionB ! Honestly, most anything will grow in the Carolinas, which was why Sir Walter Raleigh thought he had found the Garden of Eden. 3200 ft, depending on which county is pretty temperate - Hickory, Morganton, Wilkesboro, etc are great ag areas that also grow some good grapes. The best book I can recommend is Vegetable Gardening for The Southeast. Your temps will hit the up 90s in summer and probably 5 below in the winter. You will get plenty of rain and will need to consider flash flooding. Kudzu will grow a yard a day in season! So, expect rampant, lush growth for most anything. As for partial shade, the Almanac had a great article the other day

  • JennyT Upstate South Carolina
    JennyT Upstate South Carolina Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Answer ✓

    @BrionB Welcome!

    I'm not sure what part of SC you're in exactly but there are a plethora of things that grow here. My farming friend told me how his Dad was at a farming convention and was told we're in the sweet spot so to speak. He's able to grow so many different things it's exciting! I can't wait to try it all. So many different fruits and fruit trees. And of course a wondrous variety of veggies.

    You'll want to know what types of critters are around where you'll be growing so that you can protect your garden area.

    There are some hydroponics farms around here but I've heard it can be a little more difficult. I believe I remember them saying something about the fact that because it can get so warm here and that interferes/creates problems somehow and needing to stay on top of it. I'm afraid I don't recall specifics. So if you have to travel a decent amount I don't know if that's the route you'll necessarily want to take.

    Another idea for some help and insight is the many farm stands and farmer's markets around here too. I'd just start talking to people. That's what I did. And I've made some great friends for life who are able to help me with my questions as I'm working on growing my garden in a new area after moving over this past summer.

    Good luck and happy growing.


  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,641 admin

    Welcome to TGN's forum @BrionB.

    You've come to the right place for gardening advice. Lots of gardeners and farmers here with varying levels of experience from absolute newbies to the very experienced.

    My first recommendation is that you check out the Academy. There are gardening courses on everything from the soil up through compost, greenhouses and growing your own food and medicines as well as how to preserve that harvest. If you trying to decide on livestock, there are courses that will make that decision easier, in egg production and using ducks, rabbits, goats and sheep for meat or milk production. There is a course on vermicomposting and one on building a worm bin. While worms might not be a food source in themselves, it might be a side business, selling worms for bait, or bait for yourself to provide your own fish.

    I had never heard of the Kratky method before. I had a quick look at it but in my limited experience, hydroponic systems need a lot more care than gardens in the ground. Perhaps others will have more advice to offer around that system.

    Your local extension offices will have advice for you around soil, frost free days and species adapted to your climate. Botany departments at universities or colleges are usually quite helpful when it comes to identifying unknown species on your property as to whether or not they are invasive or native, and if they are useful in any way. You may already have some species that will provide you with food and/or medicines. One of our moderators, @judsoncarroll4, has written a book about trees of the south (as well as other books on herbal medicine).

    We have members from North and South Carolina and they will likely chime in with all sorts of resources for you.

    When you get a chance, have a look at "Our Front Porch Welcome" section, and the "Introductions" section. Through introductions, we are able to find people in our general locales, that will have more area-specific info for you.

  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,465 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @BrionB welcome to the forums! We have some members that live in your area. I'm way North of you in Michigan so I'm not sure how much help I could be, but I bet @judsoncarroll4 would have a great answer to your questions.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,519 admin

    @BrionB I have nothing to add here, but wanted to say, Welcome!

  • BrionB
    BrionB Posts: 2 ✭✭✭

    Many thanks to you all for your quick responses. Wow! As I said, I am just getting started (enjoying our first salads out of our 2' x 4' raised urban bed) and there is a LOT to learn. TGN is already proving itself a most valuable resource!! Impatience is a personal vice, so this may force the development of virtue....