Return to the Northwestern Gardening Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Starting your vegetable garden

Posted by changingitup ( on
Mon, Mar 10, 14 at 19:21

Just made an area in a south window to grow some starts. Doing broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant and sweet peppers for now. Hoping to put the broccoli and cauli in the ground soon to get a spring, early summer harvest. Same as peas, turnips, beets and greens only I was hoping I could put those directly in the ground soon, if not now? Or should I start them indoors? From what I can tell last frost can be anywhere from mid march to mid April in Portland. Any local gardeners want to share their early season plans to help this newbie out?

I do have a fall broccoli out there that didn't shrivel through the winter, but it didn't grow either. 3 turnips also made it and my kale is a trooper! I love all of these cool season veggies and am hopeful to get a crop in before it gets too hot.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Starting your vegetable garden

The main factor here for late winter and spring vegetable planting is the soil temperature rather than the air temperature that is unlikely to cause a killing freeze from here on out, unless you are in a very rural setting.

The cool-weather and root vegetables can probably be started (keep you outdoor soil well turned and loose in the meantime), but the eggplant and peppers need to wait for many weeks. The trick on those is to start them in large enough pots so they can grow indoors until mid-may (or longer) before planting out. Plan on having those starts up to a foot tall in 6" pots with bloom buds forming, and they will have a good chance of setting a crop outside in July/August. When these are placed out small and early, they languish.

RE: Starting your vegetable garden

I didn't even think to put my peppers and eggplants in larger pots, I'll need to pick some up as I gave all of mine away in a moment of purging, shoot! Do you suggest I pick up a soil thermometer too?

When would you move the broc and cauli out? Or is it when the soil tests around 50 degrees? Would you direct sow peas, beets and greens now or later or start them in doors and move them out later?


RE: Starting your vegetable garden

You can of course transplant tiny stuff from small to larger pots, but growth can then be sluggish for a week or two. We've never used a soil thermometer--I suspect the readings would be disappointing until 1 July and discourage doing anything!

Of course the soil will hit 50 well before then. The cold crops should do fine by April; March has been mild so far but soil warming depends more on higher sun angle and loose soil than on a few days near 60 degrees.

We have had luck with beets planted outdoors as seed after mid-april. The trick to vegetable seed gardening mid-April through May is to keep the seed bed damp during sunny days, sprinkling twice daily.

If you put plants out when too tiny, slugs and nesting birds tend to mangle them. Row cover material can be helpful.

Don't forget to gradually, over a week, introduce young plants to direct sun. Planting them out in some odd late April 85-degree day will likely burn leaves and slow growth.

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Northwestern Gardening Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here