Planning Your Summer Planted Vegetable Garden for a Fall Harvest
June 25, 2010
with Cristina Del Alma
Garden Plan Considerations
What vegetables does your family like?.
The vegetables that grow well in Puget Sound area. We have a short, dry warm season in July, August and September and a long, wet, cool season the rest of the year. A great climate for growing greens year-round.
How much garden space do you have? A lot of vegetables can be grown in small spaces with intensive gardening methods in raised beds and close plant spacing or even in containers.
How much sunlight is required for the vegetables you want to grow? Most crops need at least 6 hours, some more, some less.
Is gardening something your really enjoy? How much time do you have to devote to your garden? How much work do you want to do?
Garden Essentials: location, soil, seed varieties and good cultural practices.
Select a good location
Your site will need at least 6 hours of sunshine. Pay attention to where shadows fall from surrounding trees or buildings in each season. As leaves fill in the spring they may cast shadows on your garden. Gardening in containers adds the advantage of a moveable garden.
Sunlight Requirements of Some Vegetables
Partial Sun, 4-6 hours
Beets, Carrots, Swiss Chard, Lettuce, Onion, Parsley,
Peas, Radishes, Spinach
Full Sun, 6 hours +
Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collards, Garlic, Kale,
Kolrabi, Mustard Greens, Beans, Squash
Building Good Garden Soil: As simple as 1, 2, 3.
1. Add organic matter. At least 1-2 inches every year.
2. Add organic soil amendments. Organic fertilizers release slowly and provide other important nutrients. Most soils in the Seattle area are acid but most vegetables like a neutral soil. Adding dolomite lime sweetens the soil and contains two other important minerals, calcium and magnesium.
3. Make raised beds. “Fluffing up” the soil into raised beds improves drainage and encourages good root growth.
Vegetable Seed Varieties
When planning, be sure to choose varieties that grow well in the Northwest and are specific for a fall harvest. For container gardens select dwarf or bush varieties. The Maritime Northwest Garden Guide and Territorial Seed Catalog are good resources for varieties successfully grown in the fall and west of the cascades.
Good Cultural Practices--Secrets to Success
Vegetables grown on raised beds can be planted close together shading out weeds and self mulching as they grow. Trellising plants that vine helps to use garden space to the maximum.
2-3 square feet: Squashes, vines on trellis
12-18 square inches: Broccoli, Cabbage, Collard, Cauliflower, Parsley
6 square inches: Lettuce, Swiss Chard, Kale, Kolrabi, Mustard Greens
4 square inches : bush beans, spinach, beets, onions, Garlic
3 square inches: carrots, radish,
Many vegetable plants can be grown in containers. Smaller vegetable plants can thrive in containers 6 inches deep like lettuces, spinach, other greens and herbs but larger plants like bush type squashes need at least a 5 gallon container.
Seeds that are directly sown into the garden will require even moisture. A fine layer of compost or floating row cover can help keep the soil moist by decreasing evaporation. Once your seedlings are up and growing water regularly:
- Water deeply as plants are being established to encourage deep root growth.
- The easiest way to determine if watering is needed is dig down 4-6 inches into the bed. If soil is dry at that depth, your plants need water.