Spring in Portland

It rains a lot in the Pacific Northwest but, if we stayed in the house every time it was raining, our gardens would never get planted. March is the month I start to get a few plants in the ground such as; my kitchen herbs (parsley, oregano, chives, and thyme), cover crop (red clover), greens (kale, spinach, arugula), sweet peas (my favorite annual flower), and beans. I begin to cut back some of my herbaceous plants and amend the soil with compost. I transplant any shrubs or herbaceous plants and divide ground covers.

The wonderful thing about the spring rains is you can count on the garden getting watered most days until July. Today, it was pouring down rain and Gus and I put on our rain coats and planted kale.

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To protect newly planted seedlings, I save egg shells to crush and sprinkle around plants to deter slugs. They won’t crawl over any sharp surfaces, so, they will completely avoid the egg shells. When the shells break down, they supplement the soil with calcium, which plants love, particularly tomatoes.

In April, I start seeds in the house. I use empty plastic salad greens container because they are perfect for containing water, soil and the plastic keeps the soil warm enough to germinate the seed.

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The key to germinating seeds is warm soil, sunlight, and water. You cannot let seeds or newly sprouted seedlings dry out and the seed starter mixes are not meant to retain moisture. If the soil dries out, likely, your plants will not thrive. Find a sunny spot in your house to place your starts and don’t forget to water them.

Many vegetables such as tomatoes , eggplant, squash, peppers pumpkins and melons won’t appreciate the cooler spring days, so wait until May or June to plant them in the garden. The same goes for basil and some other warm weather herbs.

Some rainy day, grab some coffee and start visiting nurseries and shopping for seeds, starts, and more plants. As I alway say, you can never have enough plants.

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