Mar 1 to Nov 30
Mar 1 to Nov 30
Plant soon: In order for your new plants to stay healthy, they need to grow, and in order to grow they’re going to need more room. Starts should generally be transplanted into the garden, or at least a bigger pot, within one week of purchase. If they can’t be transplanted immediately, keeping them moist and between 55-65 degrees F will help them to hold healthfully.
Prepare the soil: Ideally, soil preparation begins well before planting time. This is a large subject covered well in some of the books listed above. In brief, the soil should be forked, shoveled or tilled to break up clods and work in compost, manure, minerals, etc., at least two weeks prior to planting. If your garden is already relatively weeded and fertile--lucky you. Uncomposted manure is best applied the previous fall to assure it has plenty of time to break down. Amending the soil is crucial to the health of the garden. Think of the garden soil itself as a long term crop you’re tending.
Space them out: Make sure to take different crops space needs into account. Most plants should have some info on the tag about spacing. If not, feel free to email us, or ask your favorite garden center worker. Deciding on spacing can be tricky because, while we should be wary of overcrowding things, we all know that the slugs may find one or two tasty morsels. Many of our starts are a bit over seeded, and should be thinned at the time of planting. Again, tags should give some guidance here. One possibility is to plant them out unthinned, and then, once they have made it through their smallest most vulnerable days, thin them out later if the sluggos didn’t do it for you.
Tuck them in: When planting, make sure to get the entire root ball and even the top of the block of potting mix thoroughly covered with garden soil. Put your hands to each side of the plant and give it a good firming into place. These two steps are very important in helping your plants get established in their new home. The warmer and drier it is out, the more important these steps are.
Keep an eye on them: Make sure they stay moist, but not soggy. Dusk, dawn and rainy days are the best time to scout for slugs. Your garden will repay you many times over for all the love you’re putting in.
Our recommendations for planting dates in the Puget Sound area:
Don’t forget, planting means plants--seeds get sown, and sowing dates may vary significantly from those listed here.
Caution--May require protection for best results
Plant with wild abandon!
Down and dirty tips for gardeners...
We’re here to help, and we’ll keep adding new info over time, so if you think of a good topic let us know. Obviously, the library is stacked with whole books about gardening, and these pages will only be able to provide quick tips and overviews, but we’ll pack them as full as we can before we need to get back out weeding. Our goal is to help area gardeners tap into a some of the techniques and plant varieties that small, organic farmers have found over the past couple of decades. It’s that sweet spot that emphasizes quality and flavor while also resulting in reliable, intensive food production. We continue to be amazed at how much food people are growing in their home gardens, and want to do what we can to support it.
On this page you’ll find:
•Links to specific Sunseed gardening tip sheets
•Links to other gardening and food websites
•Some book recommendations
•Planting date recommendations for the Puget Sound area
•General planting tips
When to Start a Vegetable Garden in Seattle
In my case, the time to start my vegetable garden in Seattle happens to be on a snowy day in winter. Well, actually, I should back up. I started planning weeks ago, but today the actual planting began today. As I watched snow flurries floating and blowing out the kitchen window, I rearranged my dining room to accomodate seed trays. (This room gets the best light and has a heater vent under the seedling table. Seedlings love bottom heat to get those roots growing!) Then, I filled and watered in some seedling starter trays. As I waited for the soil to hydrate and drain, I mapped out 2009 for starting seeds indoors and outdoors.
Day 1: Starting Seeds Don't Look Like Much
I’m a big fan of Seattle Tilth’s Maritime Northwest Garden Guide (available here) for month-by-month recommendations, but this year I decided to add something else to help me map out my planting and harvesting program. As I was ordering seeds from Irish-Eyes, I noticed they offer a garden planner for just $2.50. I ordered it, and so far I’m in love with it. Granted, I haven’t tested it for a growing year yet and I would never consider it a replacement to my Tilth book or Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades, but the concept is fantastic. It offers a grid and pull out system. You determine your first and last frost dates (they provide some rough numbers for most US cities), and from that you are able to determine when to start seeds indoors, first plant and last plant for the season. As well, it recommends expected harvest dates, plant spacing, row and hill recommendations. It doesn’t offer every single edible out there, but if you determine the days-to-harvest on your seeds (should be on any packet worth buying), you should be able to match that plant to others on the chart.
Using the chart and my days-to-harvest match ups, I determined today was a good day to start kale, chard, cabbage and cauliflower indoors. So, here goes. It may be snowing, but today’s the day I start my edible garden from seed in 2009.
If you’re worried because you haven’t picked up seeds, start trays or garden planners, don’t fret. Stores are filling up with seed starting materials now. And, there’s plenty of time to order great heirloom, organic seed from suppliers like Irish Eyes and still have it shipped to you in plenty of time. Just don’t wait too much longer.
Need help with your Seattle edible garden and don’t think books and pull out charts offer enough for you? Get in touch to set up a garden coaching session now! It might be snowing, but if you wait until the sun comes out and the flowers are blooming, it may be too late to plan your garden spaces, prep your soil, start your seeds and enjoy all the edibles we are able to grow in our own gardening spaces.