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What are you growing?

 
gardener
Posts: 324
Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
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My wife and I may move to either the Portland area (within an hour drive) or Seaside area. I am interested in continuing my gardening and permaculture endeavors up there. I will be looking for some property, hopefully a couple of acres.

What are you growing?
What grows well?
What should I expect?
What Should I research?
I would love personal experience, but if you have online resources for me to look at that would be good as well.

Thank you.


Steve
 
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Location: woodland, washington
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Portland's near the north end of the Willamette Trough. all that pavement adds quite a bit of heat in the summer and some in the winter. good climate for ripening fruit. olives, pomegranates, meyer lemons, figs, peaches are all doable.

Seaside's got a much milder climate because of the ocean. might be a slightly longer growing season because of that, but the fruit that will ripen is more likely to be limited to more typical cool temperate crops. techniques to increase heat could help a bit, though Spring and Fall aren't reliably sunny.
 
Steve Flanagan
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Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
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Thank you for the reply. If we move near Portland it will probably be in the rural area around Portland. I am really into growing a variety of edible plants, the more different species and cultivars the better. Where I live now I am used to being able to grow Mediterranean plants very well. My winter garden does very well here. Should I expect the same thing up there?
 
tel jetson
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Steve Flanagan wrote:Where I live now I am used to being able to grow Mediterranean plants very well. My winter garden does very well here. Should I expect the same thing up there?



well, probably not quite the same, but not terribly different. the climate here is typically considered "cool Mediterranean." the second part of that refers to our relatively mild winters with a lot of moisture and fairly warm and dry summers. the "cool" should be pretty obvious. the last couple of days have pushed 100 Fahrenheit, but that's not real common. a few years back, we had temperatures over 100 for a couple of weeks, with one or two days over 110, but the fact that I remember that so clearly suggests how infrequent weather like that is. will it be more common in the future? hard to say.

Mediterranean herbs do fine unless they're in poorly draining dirt. Mediterranean fruits mostly do fine, though short-season and cool climate cultivars are probably a good idea. chestnuts and walnuts do well. pistachios are marginal.

most of the hardier leafy crops and roots do pretty well over the winter, but they don't grow a lot. so the winter garden is more like an outdoor cellar: if you want to eat out of the garden all winter, the crops better be pretty close to mature before things cool off. season extension tricks can help. a sheltered spot on the south side of a building might keep those crops growing longer, for example. cold frames are popular. burying wood is becoming popular. windbreaks help. French intensive gardening is popular and effective, though not really my style. lots of folks put up temporary low poly tunnels, and some folks put up high poly tunnels. again, not really my style, but they are effective. a full on greenhouse would need good ventilation for cooling on clear winter days, and planning for condensation during the more common wet periods.
 
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Location: Puget Sound
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Steve,

All of Tel's advice is very good.

The Maritime PNW has a fairly unique climate compared to the rest of the country. Most US gardening books, and online sources, gear their gardening advice towards the rest of the country (The biggest market). What works well other places, sometimes does not work as well here. There are very few gardening books covering Northwest gardening. Also, root cellars do not work well here, your garden soil is your root cellar.


If you plan it correctly, your zone one garden is planted for six months of the year, and harvested 12 months of the year. The Summer/Fall plantings are done by date and not weather like you do in the Spring. The reason for this, as Tel said, is because hours of light becomes the critical factor to get your winter crops large enough.

For "Organic" gardening in the PNW, Linda Gilkeson is probably the most knowledgeable, with over forty years of experience. I strongly recommend her book "BACKYARD BOUNTY, The complete Guide to Year-Round Organic Gardening in the Pacific Northwest. It will save you years of heartache and trial, while making you one of the most productive gardeners around.

Hope this helps.

 
Steve Flanagan
gardener
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Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
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Thank you. You have both provided me with a lot of info to consider. I hope to hear from others as well.
 
Steve Flanagan
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Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
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Has anyone been able to cultivate cacti in the PNW? I would love to continue to grow nopale and prickly pear up there. I did notice while I was visiting the a lot of people grow yucca, I want to grow banana yucca up there as well. I may just end up clearing an area and planting a edible cacti and succulent garden if possible. I'm hoping if I provide adequate drainage this will be possible. I came up with a design for a drought tolerant food forest that only uses Mediterranean and desert plants, I wonder if I do things right if it would be possible to make some changes to allow me to do this in the pnw? I suppose there is a lot to learn...
 
tel jetson
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Steve Flanagan wrote:Has anyone been able to cultivate cacti in the PNW? I would love to continue to grow nopale and prickly pear up there.



there are some hardy nopales that grow just fine so long as they've got well-drained dirt. with the hardy cultivars, the issue isn't temperature, but moisture. I would guess that they would grow gangbusters under an eave with southern exposure. I'm not sure about growing for fruit, though I would guess that there are cultivars that could make it.

Opuntia is sort of weedy up in Sequim, but that's in a pretty serious rain shadow.

I tried Yucca baccata from seed once and didn't have any luck with germination. I would guess that it might be persuaded to get by, though, if some special considerations are taken. might be one of those cases where pushing climate tolerances is a lot of work and a little reward.
 
Steve Flanagan
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Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
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Does the PNW deal with late frosts?
 
tel jetson
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Steve Flanagan wrote:Does the PNW deal with late frosts?



yes. that, combined with occasional early season warm weather, is one of the primary risks to good fruit set here. depending on the fruit in question, one way around this is to plant on north slopes or other spots that heat up later to delay flowering. choosing late-flowering cultivars can also be effective. both flowering late and ripening early can be a bit of a tall order, though.
 
Steve Flanagan
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Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
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ok. A few more questions.

Is anyone growing seaberries? Pawpaws?

What perennial vegetables do well? What fruit "vegetable' cultivars do well?

 
tel jetson
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Steve Flanagan wrote:
Is anyone growing seaberries? Pawpaws?



I've got seaberries and pawpaws. they both do well. seaberries just need a bit of water to establish the first year (planting in the fall or early spring can take care of that), at which point they're pretty maintenance free and productive. mine have all taken a few years to really start producing, but once they do they've been pretty reliable.

pawpaws like a little shade while they establish, then more sun when they start fruiting. an easy way to do that is to plant a pawpaw behind a shrub, maybe a gooseberry. starts in the shade, but grows up above it soon enough.

Steve Flanagan wrote:What perennial vegetables do well? What fruit "vegetable' cultivars do well?



too long an answer for me at the moment. short version: a lot.
 
Steve Flanagan
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Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
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Cool. Ive always wanted to grow seaberries and pawpaws, but it gets too hot and dry here.

If you have time and feel like it later would you be able to post a list of vegetables for me? If not I'll understand.
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