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Re: CULT: Soil in CA and OR

   I currently reside in the city next to Campbell CA (Los Gatos) and
have gardened at several sites in the area. Campbell is a relatively
flat area just off the Santa Cruz Mtns (peak elevation 1000ft.), the
entire "silicon valley area" has a similar climate, with the degree of
ocean influence moderation determining whether you are zone 9a or 9b.
We get some ocean influence all year so even though the days can reach
the 90-100's for weeks at a time in summer it generally cools down each
evening. Winters are quite mild, frosts infrequent with temps rarely
reaching freezing, and all time lows just in the high 20's. All of our
rainfall comes between September and May, with the bulk from November
to March. Soils tend to be claylike, but not adobe clay as in other
areas, with considerable grit and stones as the area is part of an
ancient flood plane ( a stream runs through the center of the area). In
the recent past, commercially fruit tree's, primarily plums and
apricots were grown in this area. Soil tests usually show a need for
Nitrogen (due to the heavy winter rainfall, and little summer plant
growth) but plenty of P and K. Soil PH in my yard is 6.5 to 6.7. The
trees are primarily Native evergreen Oaks, whose leaves tend toward the
acid side.  Our water tends to be alkaline. Mainly gardeners here need
to add compost to the soil. Iris do very well here as you might
imagine. Peonies are rare - not enough chill hours. Summers are too
long and hot for delphiniums etc. (we grow them as annuals)

Iris Hybridizer Bryce Williamson lives in the Campbell area, and Bill
Maryott formerly ran his operation just a few miles from Campbell in NW
San Jose.

Chad Schroter

>         [iris] CULT: Soil in CA and OR
Date: Thu, 21 Apr 2005 09:19:45 EDT
From: ChatOWhitehall@aol.com
Subject: [iris] CULT: Soil in CA and OR


I'd like to ask a couple of questions which I fully understand are a 
for oversimplified information. I am just trying to enhance my most 
understanding of some issues I am investigating. Then, if it seems 
appropriate I 
will delve deeper in appropriate directions.

First: Broadly speaking, from a horticultural standpoint, what is the 
of the soil in the area of Campbell, CA, which on maps appears to be in

Clara County in an area of comparatively high elevation? I'd be very 
interested to know the likely range of pH in the area, whether the soil

is clay, or 
silt or limestone derived or stony or mostly sand or bakes to bricks in

summer, or that sort of thing. Do the conditions vary much in that 
area? Also, what 
is the climate like for gardening, particularly as regards the 
conditions at 
the first onset of spring, temperatures in winter, and, most 
importantly, the 
amount of precipitation in the summer months? 
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