Planting now?

shamrockgal(USDA 8+ WA)December 3, 2012

I live in Anacortes. I have been preparing the soil hoping to plant SOME herbs and/or vegetables now. Is it still possible and will you please make some suggestions?


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George Three LLC

do you have a cloche tunnel?

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 10:45PM
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Has the "Trying to keep things growing in the winter" recent forum topic been of any help to you?

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 11:25PM
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Starting a garden is so much fun, but this time of year you're a bit limited due to lack of sunlight (hours & intensity) & abundance of rain.

A container garden with soil less potting mix on a covered porch might work to plant now. I've still seen rosemary, sage & thyme for sale, but not much else right now. Your local independent nursery would be a good start to find vegetables or herbs, but big box stores won't. Onion & garlic chives are going dormant as is everything else so flavor also isn't the best now in our cool, wet weather. I harvest sage leaves & parsley (stems + leaves) throughout winter using about 2x amount as usual to make up for the difference. Rosemary kept in large containers out of winter rains overwinter for me fine & I do take snippings of new growth all year long.

Unless you have prepared garden soil it might be best to layer compost ingredients on top of your soil & then pull them back to plant in spring once the soil isn't so wet, wet, wet. Roots just rot in the wet weather we've had lately unless you have excellent drainage with years of soil improvements. Both clay & sand need more organic matter to grow a garden well. Herbs have their own unique needs & dislike soppy soils.

For an easy weed free garden to plant in spring cover garden with overlapping layers of cardboard or thick layers of newspaper/cereal boxes, etc. Top the smothering layer of paper with 4-6" of weed free mulch such as coffee grounds, shredded papers, shredded leaves, straw (oat or wheat straw or alfalfa, but not hay with seeds) or purchased compost. Coffee shops may give you the grounds for free. Feed stores have sweepings for free, but you may have to sift out any weed seeds. I've put that down as a layer under manures & haven't had any weed seed problems. You can collect it from different sources then mix up in a wheelbarrow to spread or just spread as you acquire it. Either way works. Time is on your side, so the rain will wash it all into your soil & the worms will work it up a bit. Another name for this is lasagna gardening. If your location is windy you need to make sure the materials won't be tossed around when dry. Not sure it will get dry again until next summer, so won't likely be a problem unless your location is very exposed. Then you'll need to create some shelter whether a fence or hedge for your plants to grow well anytime of year.

Ideally large rocks, roots, perennial weeds (especially buttercup, dandelion, & cat's ear or false dandelion) are removed, but since now isn't the time to cultivate wet soil you can try this route of layering up now. If you plant annual vegetables in early spring then after you harvest in June you can work on the soil a bit more to remove the rocks, roots, etc.

Look into attending the Green Elephant plant swap in Redmond 1st Saturday of March for herb starts. There is a seed sowing event in January, but you might prefer to wait for the plants in March. Plus by then the chives will be back up & growing!

Do some reading up about edible gardening on this forum by searching terms: vegetables, lasagna, sheet mulch, manures, compost, etc. You'll find a lot of useful suggestions and plan what may work for you. There are many ways to garden, so not one way works for everyone.

I hope that helps,

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 11:32PM
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shamrockgal(USDA 8+ WA)

My most humble apologies for not answering all your responses until now in July, but I do thank everbody. About the time I posted, a dear friend had two strokes and died. He named me executrix and I became suddenly buried in probate work. I have returned to my gardening, but it is container gardening on the deck, out of deference to a bad back.

To answer one response - No, eeldip, I do not have a tunnel, nor the space for one. To another response - Living in Anacortes, I had not heard of the Green Elephant Plant Swap in Redmond, but will consider attending. Thanks, Larry for the tip on the winter forum.

I have planted some herbs and have decided to try mixing vegetables with the perennials I've planted in three large containers. I'd appreciate some suggestions for vegetables to consider planting now and the next few months to mix with the flowers. I live in a very windy area and must consider that problem with anything I place on the deck or it ends up in Marysville during the winter winds. Thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 3:00PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I ended up hiring a cousin to handle my mother's estate - as well as using a probate attorney. Vegetable gardening in the wind is not as nice as behind walls or hedges, if you can do something to make your work area more quiet that should be a noticeable improvement.

A serious vegetable gardener in Shoreline uses fencing, heat reflecting walls and mini-greenhouses over raised beds to get the desired results. And this is on a not particularly windy site.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 6:41PM
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