I will soon be leaving Palm Springs and moving to Bear Valley Springs, CA. This is a community near Tehachapi, about 40 miles east of Bakersfield in the foothills of the Sierras. You can Google it - a beautiful cooler part of the state at 4000 ft. elevation with huge old oaks and pine forests.
Palm Springs seemed like a good place for someone my age (just turned 70), but the heat has proven to be more than I can stand and not a great place for orchards or summer vegetable gardening, either.
My new home will be on more than an acre of land in USDA Zone 8a – and the area is famous for its apples and organic farms. I’m already mentally planting my Gravenstein and Honeycrisp apples, plus Brooks and Santa Rosa plums, Utah Giant and Rainier Cherries, an Elberta peach, Snow Queen nectarine, and a Tilton apricot – all ultratasty varieties that do not do well in a low desert climate.
I think I’ll enjoy having more distinct four seasons, too, even if I’ll occasionally be required to do some snow shoveling.
And of course, I will once again be leaving behind some well-improved organic garden soil and fruit trees. The little lemon tree, Florida Prince peach, Gold Kist apricot, pineapple guava trees, and asparagus patch will provide good eating for new owners.
Some say I must have some gypsy blood in me, but I’d prefer to call it a Goldilocks syndrome – looking for that perfect spot, not too hot, not too cold, just right – and with room for more than a postage-stamp size garden.
And brand new soil to work with! That’s like a blank canvas to an artist. I’ll enjoy the process of marking out boundaries, building up beds, working in compost, minerals, and (naturally) mycorrhizal inoculant before seeding and transplanting. I do notice that there are large numbers of deer and rabbits around there, so protective measures will also be called for. All part of gardening.
Should be fun! And if I ever do get to retire, maybe the garden area will become even larger.
Cheers, and good growing, my friends,