How to Grow Vegetables in Medford, Oregon

Overview

Medford is in the heart of the Rogue River Valley of southwestern Oregon. Its location, midway between the Cascades and the Coastal range, has hot summers and pronounced, but not harsh, winters. There is little ocean cooling in the summer, but the ocean influence offers some protection during the winter. The Sunset Western Garden Book gives winter lows down into the teens, and summer highs over 100 degrees. The vegetable growing season is from early May through the beginning of October, about 150 days. Medford, Oregon is one of the prime gardening areas in the Pacific Northwest.

March and April

Step 1

Use pots to start warm season seedlings such as tomatoes, melons, squash, peppers and eggplants.

Step 2

Begin readying your vegetable beds. Chop and turn over any winter cover crops that you planted in the summer or fall, and add compost and other soil amendments.

Step 3

Plant cool season crops directly into your garden in the middle of April, such as radishes, peas, chard, lettuce, green onions and other salad vegetables, unless you are still having regular frosts.

Step 4

Plant beets at the end of April.

Step 5

Put potted seedlings out into the garden at the end of April. This "hardens them off," or allows them to adjust to your garden. Protect them from late frosts, snails and slugs.

May and June

Step 1

Transplant your warm season vegetables at the beginning of May. This way you'll start picking tomatoes, squash and peppers around the beginning of July.

Step 2

Start your fall seedlings, such as the brassicas, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower.

Step 3

Plant vegetables that need warm soil, like corn, carrots and beans. Either plant three varieties of corn--short, medium and long season--to give yourself a constantly maturing crop, or use succession planting.

Step 4

Do succession planting for carrots and beets, planting your seeds at two-week intervals, one-third at a time.

Step 5

Early May is a good time to start potatoes.

Step 6

Harvest peas and salad ingredients in May.

Step 7

Plant warmer weather crops in the empty space from the radishes and peas.

Step 8

Use most of your lettuce space for heat-loving crops. Lettuce will bolt (go to seed) in the hot temperatures of July and August;

July and August

Step 1

Plant long season vegetables at the start of July--things like onions, turnips and the brassicas. They will be ready in late summer to early fall.

Step 2

Plant additional lettuce, radishes and beets; harvest them in September and October.

Step 3

Harvest tomatoes, peppers, squash and beans.

September and October

Step 1

Harvest every day, maybe even twice a day. Squash and cucumbers can grow enormously in one night.

Step 2

Plant lettuce, beets and radishes until the first week of September; there is still time for them to finish. Look for short season varieties (less than 60 days) or ones that prefer cold weather.

Step 3

Freeze, pickle, can, gift your neighbors and give to food banks and shelters. Your garden is in high gear now, producing more than you probably know what to do with.

Step 4

Start picking fall lettuce and beets.

November and December

Step 1

Harvest the last of the lettuce and beets.

Step 2

Harvest the brassicas; some carrots and brassicas can remain in the garden unless you expect a hard freeze.

Step 3

Plant cover crops in the beds as they empty. These are nitrogen and organic material for next spring's garden.

Step 4

Plant garlic to harvest next summer.

Step 5

Leave some carrots, beets and brassicas in the garden to harvest when you are ready.

January and February

Step 1

Look at seed catalogs to decide what you want to plant in your garden next summer. Choose a few tomato varieties, some that will be ready in 60 to 65 days and others that have varying flavor profiles and longer growing times. Do the same with corn unless you want to do succession planting.

Step 2

Plant colder weather varieties of beets, spinach and lettuce. Protect them from extreme frosts with newspaper or blankets.

Step 3

Pick the remaining beets, brassicas and carrots as you need them.

Step 4

Plant bulb onions the last week of February.

Tips and Warnings

  • Snails and slugs are a big problem in the Pacific Northwest. Beer traps will catch and drown them. Beware of late frosts when planting your first seeds in March and April. Wait a week or two if you have to.

Things You'll Need

  • Vegetable seed catalogs
  • Peat pots
  • Potting soil
  • Supports for vining crops
  • Gardening tools (i.e. fork, rake, shovel, hoe)

References

  • Sunset Western Garden Book; Kathleen Norris Brenzel; 2001

Who Can Help

  • Territorial Seed Company
  • Seed Savers Exchange
  • Organic Gardening
Keywords: Medford, Oregon, vegetables, gardening, Rogue River Valley

About this Author

Patricia Bryant Resnick started writing when she was 7. She received a Bachelor of Arts from Sonoma State University in 1975. She began writing professionally in 1996 and has been published in "Rolling Stone," "Georgia Family Magazine" and online. Resnick specializes in food and gardening articles; she is a regular reviewer of tea on the Web.

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