Oregon has one of the most diverse climates in the United States, which makes vegetable gardening challenging to those who aren’t aware of which varieties grow best in its six USDA plant hardiness zones. Some of its Pacific coast areas include rain forests, while high desert regions encompass the sparsely populated southeastern part of the state. Along with the Pacific ocean, the Cascade mountain range also influences growing regions. The diversity, however, means many vegetables thrive.
Snap beans grow best in full sun and well-drained soil that is crumbly and warmed to 50 degrees Fahrenheit and higher. Plant snap beans in May along the coast and western valleys, and in April in other parts of the state. They like moderate fertilizing and moisture, but do not grow well in areas that puddle.
Summer squash is a hardy, warm-season vegetable that grows well in Oregon when the weather is warm and frost-free. Bushy plants are vigorous growers and producers if they are grown in soil that is well-drained. Start seeds indoors four weeks before transplanting in May throughout the state. Fruit should be picked before it ripens and the rind hardens, usually before it grows more than 8 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Several varieties are grown in the home garden, from Embassy zucchini to early yellow summer crookneck.
This root vegetable is planted earlier than warm-season crops. They can be planted starting in January along the coast, in March in the western valleys, in April along the state’s northern edge, and at higher elevations in central and eastern Oregon. Deep, loose soil that is well-drained but retains moderate moisture is necessary for optimal growth. They do not grow well in very acidic soil.
Peppers are tropical in origin, and so need to be planted in May throughout the state after the danger of frost has passed. They grow best in full sun and in temperatures that are 80 F and warmer.
These cool-season vegetables can be started about 10 weeks before planting commences in January along the coast, in February in on the north central edge and eastern edge in the middle, in March in the western valleys and in May at higher central and eastern elevations. Preparing soil with fertilizer rich in phosphorous and fertilizing once plants are established will help onions grow. Varieties that grow best in Oregon are “long day” types that form bulbs when day length reaches 14 to 16 hours.