Herbs, Vegetables and Edibles
Edibles Hints & Tips
Herbs don’t have to be grown in a proper garden bed. They may be planted in pots, baskets and window boxes as well as mixed into the landscape.
The more you snip and pinch your herbs the more they respond with added growth.
For best selection, buy your seeds in January to plant out when weather permits.
Soak your legume seeds in a seed inoculant for a bigger and better harvest.
Extend your vegetable gardening season with products from the garden center like: Frost cloth or “Wall of Water” to hold in heat and prevent damage from frost.
Protect your vegetables from insects and pests with “Harvest Guard.”
Keep the fruits of your labor away from the birds and critters with bird netting.
Imagine you are planning a dinner party or barbecue and all you need to do for fresh produce is to step outside into your garden and fill up your shopping basket with all your favorite ingredients!
Successful “shopping” in your garden begins with careful planning. Where you plant does matter. Almost all edibles must get at least 6 hours of sun per day. They must be plants agreeable to our Pacific Northwest climate. The concept is called “Right Plant, Right Place”. Your success depends on it.
From large raised beds and small backyard gardens, to those grown in containers on lanais and decks, any size garden will surprise you with its ability to produce abundantly.
Why grow herbs, fruits and vegetables?
- You can be sure no pesticides were used on or near your produce.
- It’s less expensive than buying food from the grocery store.
- Home garden veggies taste better and the nutritional value is multiplied significantly. Eating well is the ultimate reward for growing your own vegetables.
- Getting your children involved with planting and picking the food they eat is a great way to teach them the importance of healthy eating. And they may be more inclined to eat veggies that they’ve grown themselves.
- You can’t text a tomato, they must be planted, watered and cared for, giving kids and adults a wholesome alternative to all that technology.
- There is a real satisfaction to sitting down for a meal prepared from produce you’ve nurtured yourself.
- Vegetable gardening is fun! It is fun to watch a seed turn to sprout and then grow into something good to eat.
Want to get started? All you need is…
- A sunny spot (heat-lovers will do best against a south facing wall)
- Some good quality soil
- – Use potting soil for containers, it will drain better and allow oxygen to get to the roots.
- – If you are planting in the ground, you can improve your soil with compost.
- Fertilizer (why not use organic?)
- Some learned advice. Read a book and/or seek out a good nursery professional. These folk have not only grown their own veggies, but helped 1,000’s of others reap many bountiful harvests.
- Seeds or starts
- Appropriate tools for the size of your garden
- Remember, it is better to water deeply with a soaker hose twice a week than use a hand-held hose every day.
- Some seeds may require soaking overnight. Read the seed packet for helpful hints on this as well as spacing and planting depth.
- When it comes to timing in your garden, temperature over rules calendar date. Our average last frost date is April 7th, so about half of the time it will not frost again and it will be safe to plant tender plants. A definite safe date is not until April 30th. Tropicals like tomatoes and peppers do better getting planted out at the end of May and basil, not until mid-June! Garden timing is always a gamble in the northwest!
- Some years our NW summers are not hot enough for certain heat loving vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and pumpkins to ripen, so consider buying gallon size starts to advance the growing season or choose varieties that require less time to mature.
- Be sure to leave room for sprawling vines (peas, tomatoes, squash, pole beans) to spread out or grow up a support.
- Start the gardening season in March with cold-hardy vegetables that tolerate frost, such as peas, salad greens, cole crops, beets, and chard.
- Extend your harvest into fall with a mid-summer, second sowing of these same cold-hardy, short-season vegetables so they mature after you harvest your main crops.
These are a few tips for planting: