Gardening secrets

Knowing the secrets to growing in cooler weather along the coast is the key to a successful garden.

Growing your own vegetable garden might seem like a daunting task, but with these tips and tricks from Oregon State University Extension Service, your homegrown carrots and tomatoes will be the talk of the neighborhood.

The first thing every prospective vegetable gardener must do is choose a site for their garden. An ideal garden site should have the following qualities:

  • Level, or only slightly sloped ground.
  • It should receive six hours of direct sun per day.
  • It should be well-drained.
  • It should be distanced from trees or shrubs, which would compete for your vegetable’s water.
  • For ease of maintenance, a water source should be nearby.

Next, the vegetable gardener should prepare the soil.

  • Start by assessing the soil tilth. Tilth is the condition of the soil before it is seeded. A good soil tilth means it is easy to dig into, it accepts water readily and it drains well.
  • To maintain or improve soil tilth, add fresh or composted organic matter each year.
  • Consider growing vegetables in raised beds to keep foot traffic out of the beds. Additionally, raised beds improve drainage, allow the soil to warm rapidly and reduce the chance of soil-borne diseases.

Finally, the vegetable gardener is ready to plant, but only if the season allows. It is important to adhere to recommended planting dates and to adjust to unseasonal weather. Oregon is divided into five different growing regions, the coastal region being region number one. On the coast, the growing season is cool, but lasts long — 190 to 250 days. Each vegetable has its own planting season, but here are some tips about when to plant what.

  • Beans (Snap): May-June
  • Cabbage: Jan.-April and July-Sept.
  • Carrots: Jan.-June
  • Cucumbers: April-June
  • Onions: Jan.-May
  • Peppers: May
  • Tomatoes: May-June
  • Turnips: Jan. & Aug.

Guidelines about planting seasons and specifications of many other vegetables can be found through resources available at the Oregon State University Extension Service.

Once you’ve planted, it’s time to maintain your garden to prevent it being overrun by weeds and pests. Here are some maintenance tips:

  • In the first 30 days after planting, weed your garden thoroughly. Most vegetable seedlings cannot compete against weeds.
  • Incorrect watering is the most common cause of problems in the garden. Apply 1 to 1.5 inches per watering.
  • It is a good idea to rotate your crops every year. Crop rotation can help control soil-borne plant diseases if the alternate crop is not susceptible to the disease. In general, avoid planting crops from the same family in the same place in consecutive years.
  • You must control insects, slugs, symphylans — garden centipedes — and diseases in order to obtain good plant growth.

The OSU Extension Service invites you to the annual Curry County Master Gardeners Association plant sale, which will be held online this year from April 25 to May 1. There are over 300 varieties of perennials, shrubs, succulents, herbs and vegetable plants. There are also a variety of novelty planters, including driftwood, hypertufa and ceramic planters, just in time for Mother’s Day.

All proceeds will go to master gardener activities, including the hoop house and garden at Riley Creek Elementary School, where students learn gardening skills, and are introduced to growing hydroponic lettuce for their school’s cafeteria.

During the online plant sale, shoppers will be able to see photos of the mature plants, with descriptions and care.The plants can be searched by botanical or common names. During the online purchase process, shoppers will select the best day and time for them to pick up their plants at Gold Beach High School May 1 – 7. The website for the sale is: master-gardeners-plant-sale.myshopify.com

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