How to Do Vegetable Gardening in the Pacific Northwest


Lucky is the gardener living in the Pacific Northwest. You're blessed with plentiful rain, mild winters, and reasonably fertile soil. Your vegetable garden will flourish without the effort many other locations require. Most areas of Oregon and Washington have long growing seasons of 150 days or more, but some eastern and high-altitude locations have growing seasons of 90 days or less. You'll need additional gardening strategies if you live in one of these areas.

Step 1

Scoop soil from various locations in your garden and place the soil in the sample bags that came with your soil test kit. Mail the test kit to your county extension office. Within a few weeks, you'll receive a soil analysis report that contains specifics about the texture and nutrient levels of your soil.

Step 2

Select the sunniest location in your yard for your vegetable garden. Remove all weeds, rocks and debris.

Step 3

Lay a 1- to 2-inch layer of compost on your soil and till it in with a shovel or rototiller. Apply other amendments to the soil as recommended by your soil test report.

Step 4

Plant cool weather vegetables such as peas, onions, and carrots four to five weeks before the last frost. In coastal areas, plant by March 10. In central and eastern locations, plant by April 10. Plant midspring crops such as broccoli, beets and cabbage two weeks later. Plant warm season crops such as beans, corn and tomatoes after the last expected frost.

Step 5

Apply fertilizer, based on recommendations from your soil test report, three to six weeks after planting seeds, and then again when plants begin to flower.

Step 6

Water your garden to keep soil evenly moist. In eastern areas, water at least once per week for 30 minutes; water more during hot, windy weather. Water your garden as needed in coastal areas, checking the soil two to three times per week to ensure the soil is moist. Adapt your watering schedule for very wet or very dry weather.

Step 7

Manage pests and diseases that thrive in the humid, moist conditions found in most parts of the Pacific Northwest. Consult a local county extension office if you notice fungus, white powder, black spots, wilting or other signs of trouble. Properly identify the culprit and follow your county extension office's recommendations.

Tips and Warnings

  • Treat pests and diseases as soon as you notice them before they have a chance to spread. Use the least toxic option first.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil test kit (from the county extension office)
  • Compost
  • Shovel
  • Fertilizer


  • Washington State Extension Office: Home Gardens
  • Oregon State Extension Office: Vegetable Gardening in Oregon

Who Can Help

  • Washington State Extension Office: Organic Gardening
  • United States National Arboreteum: USDA Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: Pacific Northwest gardening, Washington vegetable gardening, Oregon vegetable gardening

About this Author

Julie Christensen has been writing professionally since 2001. She is a full-time freelance writer and former teacher with writing credits from several regional and national publications, such as Colorado Parent and LDS Living. She specializes in parenting, education and gardening topics. Christensen studied early childhood education at Ricks College, and spent 20 years as a teacher and director in university and public school settings.