Garden Planning and Crop Rotation
This is a great time of year to start planning your garden. Whether you live in the country or out in the city, knowing what grows best in your area and what you planted last year are crucial ingredients to a successful garden.
Research Your Climate
Depending on where you live, the best time to plant outside is going to vary. Yakima gardeners will plant later than those in Albany. One of the best rules-of-thumb is to plant based on the first and last frost. If you don’t know when to expect the first and last frost, Bonnie Plants has a great resource here.
What you plant is also important. Most warm-weather crops won’t do as well throughout the Northwest, but the following quick list includes favorites that do well in Oregon and Washington.
Start Your Seeds Early
Late January and early February are great times to start your seeds indoors. You can also use a warm greenhouse. Generally, tomatoes take 6-8 weeks to reach transplant size, as do peppers. Flowers such as Zinnia, Marigolds, Geraniums, Daisies and poppies can also be germinated indoors for an early transplant just after the last frost.
Rotate Your Crops Clockwise
Rotating crops around your garden is essential in avoiding parasites and optimizing your soil nutrients for a great harvest. In other words, you’ll get more from your garden by giving your soil a chance to regenerate or use more nutrients.
Think of your garden like a clock. Whether you have multiple raised beds and areas throughout your yard, or one large garden, you want to move crops around the clock each year. If you planted anything from the tomato family at the “12” last year, move them to “3.” If you planted anything from the cabbage family at “6” the year before, move them to the “9.”
The more varieties of vegetables you have, the more crops you’ll need to rotate. It helps to draw a map of where and when you plant your vegetables. Be sure to include information on varieties and plant families, including the following:
- Tomato family: all tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and potatoes. These require very rich soil.
- Bean family: green beans and peas.
- Squash family: pumpkins, gourds, cucumbers, melons, and squash.
- Cabbage family: lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and cabbage.
Coastal Has Seeds, Starts, and Gardening Supplies
Whether you have a green-thumb or you’re a novice looking for gardening advice, your nearby Coastal Farm & Ranch has everything you need. Even if you’re not sure what will grow best in your area, our team can help you get started.