I'm a California girl, but likely going to be homesteading in Ohio (Cleveland area). I need all the advice I can get! I no nothing about cold whether and all those trees make me nervous! I'm aware of hazards like fires, drought, and earthquakes. I no nothing about blizards, tornadoes, and, what else? Please help!
I am about 2 hours from downtown Cleveland over in PA. Which counties are you considering? The NE area of Ohio has a similar weather pattern as NWPA. Fires are nonexistent. Tornadoes are rare and not as strong as the ones out in other parts of the Midwest. The biggest adjustment will be getting used to the blizzards but they are easy to prep for. Read up on the Lake Effect. It has a huge influence on the amounts of rain and snow in this area. We usually tend to get more precipitation than most areas. The trees aren't scary. I love the forests in this part of the country. I am not sure if you are a water person but there are so many great outdoor opportunities in NE Ohio.
Joined: Apr 17, 2010
Location: Dugger, IN Zone 6a
The trees are a big reason to live in the midwest. The seasons are another. The big thing to get used to is a relatively short growing season. How close you are to the lake could have a pretty big effect on your weather patterns.
Driving on snow is a bit of an experience. It is a bit like driving on a gravel road. Driving on ice is another story altogether and is to be avoided.
We moved from the Cleveland/Akron area to start our sustainable living journey. We moved 3 hours south and have a longer growing season now with less snow. Also, the lake effect snow was a new experience for us. To me it seemed impossible to have a high tunnel system there in winter because the snow accumulated so quickly, here we have more time to prepare as we rarely get such big waves of snow. We have the same depth at times but when it comes down over weeks instead of days it is easier to keep pathways cleared. Just my opinion on it, but as with everything in life, the more you prepare in advance, the less worries and hardship you will have! Just be prepared for 2 feet of snow to fall at any given time. We only made it 2 years in that area before we relocated I just couldn't get used to the lake effect!
We've been homesteading in NEO for about 5 years and the more I read about farming in other areas, the more I love it here. Pest populations aren't out of control, the predators are all small and easily managed, the seasons are long and temperate enough to grow most of what you would want to, there is plenty of rainfall and even this year though we are experiencing a bit of drought, with some mulching in the garden I don't need to water it hardly at all. I've lived in Columbiana County most of my life and I can remember just two winters where the snowfall was really significant. The lake effect seems to always miss our county and I'd say that most forecasts have the snow being in the 2-3" range and then the kids are always disappointed when we get a dusting. Otherwise, there are virtually no natural disasters- tornado warnings, when we do get them are rarely touchdowns. I can't be certain, but I think 1985 is the most memorable year. One thing to consider, depending where you fall in the debate, the shale drilling companies are starting to build wells in the area. To some that's great news, to others it's a reason to pack up and leave.
Joined: Dec 15, 2010
Location: sw pa zone 5
I live in SW Pa about an hour east of Pittsburgh next to the Mountains. I am very surprised by the difference in my garden and the growing season here compared with the Northern Tier of Pa which is more like the area around Cleveland. I have a hunting camp just north of Rt 80 , The Lake Effect snow pretty much stops at Rt 80 here in Pa. I had been picking tomatos for 3 weeks befor my friends near DuBios Pa. I am about 2 hours south of them and that 2 hours does make a big difference. Northern Ohio is a very beautiful area, rolling hills, good rain fall, few natural disasters, and pretty good soil. Cleveland even cleaned up its river so that it does not catch fire any more. Going a bit farther south from Cleveland will make a huge difference in the growing season. In the winter the storms seem to come from the north across the Lake and the snows can be deep up there for a good distance from the lake. If you want to homestead and live off the land I would check out where the Lake effect snows stop in Ohio. By the way, the Lake can have a warning effect on some fruit crops like Grapes and they do great very close to the lake. Grapes, raspberrys, cherrys, plums apples all do well next to the Lake, the large body of water keeps things moderate very close to the Lake. So depending on what you want to grow the Lake effect can be a good thing or a bad thing.
Never doubt that a small group of dedicated people can change the world, Indeed it is the only thing that ever has. Formerly pa_friendly_guy_here
Joined: Jul 14, 2013
Location: central Ohio
Hi there. I'm trying to set up an urban homestead in the suburbs of Columbus. Ohio can be a great place to grow things, so do not be afraid. Up north near Cleveland, you might also have the option for maple syrup.
Anyway, I'd highly recommend some OSU extension publications such as the Midwest Guide to Home Fruit production, to help you choose varieties suitable for Ohio.