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Home & Garden

The Basics of Good Gardening

April 5, 2018

At every Coastal location, you’ll find a handful of experts who know how to help you plant and maintain a great garden. But if you’re near the Marysville, Washington store, you’re going to meet Linda Woolsey, Certified Professional Horticulturalist and lifelong gardener. She loves gardening and sharing her expertise with others. Today, she’s covering some of the basics to help you get your garden going.

Know Your Growing Season 

Depending on where you live in the Pacific Northwest will determine your growing season. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) along with Oregon State University has put together an interactive website to help you find your region.

Most of Oregon and Washington lie in zones 6 through 9 with a few pockets dipping down into zone 5, where temperatures can reach -20º Fahrenheit. Thanks to the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains, our part of the world enjoys some wonderful growing seasons.

Linda explains that you can use that information to plan a successful garden.

“First, track your yard and property for a couple of days,” Linda said when asked about growing seasons. “You want to note the amount of sunlight and shade that your yard gets.

When you have that information, along with your Plant Hardiness Zone, you can determine what kind of plants will grow best on your property and where to place them. For example, if you have a solid fence that shades your yard 80% of the time, be sure you only plant shade varieties in that area. Conversely, be sure your vegetable garden gets at least 6 hours of full sunlight every day. Read the labels and seed packets for anything you purchase and follow the planting instructions.

Soil is Essential

If you can, test your soil. Is it full of sand or clay? Are there any earth worms in your soil?  According to Linda, most of us need to add nutrients to our gardens and flowerbeds. This is because soils lose microorganisms over time. Maintaining microorganisms requires the use of organic matter such as manures, worm castings, fish fertilizers, leaves, and compost. These bring life to your soil. This can help you produce more bountiful gardens for you and your family.

You can improve your soil conditions by adding bags of potting soil, garden soil, as well as other additives. By growing organically, you’ll continually improve your soil, bring more birds to your yard, which will reduce insects. Plus, you’ll find that everything grows more easily.

Plan Your Watering

How will you water your garden? Sure, in some areas of Oregon and Washington, you can skip watering in the spring, but you will still need a plan for the summer – especially if you live east of the Cascades. Sprinklers, drip systems, soaker hoses, and hand watering all work great. Just be consistent with each plant’s watering needs, watering deeply and less often.

Aesthetics are Important

If you want to watch your garden grow from the deck or porch, plan ahead for a beautiful view. However, as stated before, it’s more important to ensure your plants get enough, or as little, sunlight as needed.

Visit Your Coastal Gardening Center

You’ll find seeds, starts, soils, fertilizers, weed killers, gardening tools, sprinklers, hoses, and a lot more at your Northwest owned and operated Coastal. Love birds? Check out our aisle of birdfeeders and bags of birdseed for your region’s yard-friendly fliers.