Growing your own vegetables is rewarding and can save you money at the grocery store. Due to Oregon's moist, cool conditions (especially on the coast), it is important to choose vegetables that can survive in the region, as well as plant them in appropriate locations and protect them from the elements.
Protection From Weather
Vegetable gardens in Oregon, particularly the coast, need to be protected from the strong ocean breezes and cold winds that come flow across the state. Since wind causes moisture to evaporate from plant leaves (usually faster than the roots can suck in moisture), the plant may endure drought stress. Even if the ground is very wet, windy conditions can still affect your vegetable plants. To prevent evaporation and protect the vegetables, surround them with a small fence or items to block wind from hitting the leaves directly. Shade cloth can also help protect plants in the same manner.
Select the Best Crops
Select appropriate vegetables. In Oregon, crops that thrive include root crops, zucchini, leeks, onions, lettuce, peas, cole crops, corn and tomatoes. Pay attention to warm season and cool season crops, and inquire with your local nursery or gardening store about the soil conditions.
On the coast, lack of sun and warmth can make vegetables die or become weak. Try to plant garden rows in a north to south direction to get the most out of your available sunlight. Or, plant on a south side of a wall or house. To increase heat if necessary, you can use row covers or cloches (with proper ventilation) to provide a mini greenhouse effect.
Improving the Soil
Understand the type of soil in your area and its condition before planting vegetables so you know what nutrients or conditions you need to increase or decrease. In the spring and fall seasons, Oregon experiences heavy rainfall, so soil drains very slowly. Use raised beds or add organic matter to the soil to speed drying and warming of the the planting site. Coastal soils are usually quite sandy and don't hold water that well. Frequent watering and the addition of organic matter to this soil is beneficial during hotter months. Make sure to apply fertilizer to Oregon gardens during the growing seasons, so there is no lack of nutrients. Use fertilizer specific to your vegetables and region.