The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Pacific Northwest

The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Pacific Northwest

by Lorene Edwards Forkner

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Overview

The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Pacific Northwest by Lorene Edwards Forkner

There is nothing more regionally specific than vegetable gardening. What to plant, when to plant it, and when to harvest are unique decisions based on climate, weather, and first and last frost.

The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening: Pacific Northwest is a growing guide that truly understands the unique eccentricities of the Northwest growing calendar, covering Oregon, Washington, southeastern Alaska, and British Columbia. The month-by-month format makes it perfect for beginners and accessible to everyone—you can start gardening the month you pick it up. Starting in January? The guide will show you how to make a seed order, plan crop rotations and succession plantings, and plant a crop of microgreens. No time to start until July? You can start planting beets, carrots, chard, kale, parsnips, and spinach for an early fall harvest.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781604693515
Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 01/15/2013
Pages: 232
Sales rank: 198,502
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Lorene Edwards Forkner is the author of several gardening books, including Hortus Miscellaneous, Growing Your Own Vegetables, and Canning and Preserving Your Own Harvest. Her writing has appeared in several national and regional publications including Organic Gardening, MaryJane's Farm, Northwest Garden News, and Edible Seattle. Supported by a degree in fine art and years of experience owning and operating Fremont Gardens, a specialty retail nursery in Seattle, Washington, Lorene is a popular speaker, eager to weigh in on horticultural mysteries, offer direction for design conundrums, and teach DIY gardeners.

Read an Excerpt

Preface
Growing fruits and vegetables is a crazy good thing. I love it. From that chilly spring day when I bundle up and venture outside to briskly poke pea seeds into the wet soil to hot summer afternoons spent staking tomatoes, their sticky foliage enveloping me in a slightly bitter herbal aroma and staining my fingers olive—I find the entire process endlessly appealing. But all that pales next to the sheer pleasure of going into the backyard and harvesting crops in their prime. It’s all about the food people!
    
Several years ago while driving along with NPR on the radio, I caught an interview with Greg Atkinson, Northwest chef extraordinaire, recounting a conversation he’d had with esteemed food writer Ruth Reichl. Her assessment of our region’s many resources struck me so strongly I immediately pulled to the curb to write it down. To paraphrase Reichl: the Pacific Northwest has a climate and a geography that makes human beings feel very welcome on the planet.
    
Indeed, ours is a land of plenty, ripe with potential. Ample rainfall (ahem), good soil, and moderate temperatures grant a long and hospitable growing season. But we grow things a little differently in the PNW (defined in this book as Western Washington, Western Oregon, and Southern British Columbia) All gardening is local and especially so if you happen to reside in a region embraced by mountains, bordered by salt water, or run through by rivers. Cool-season crops (like kale, carrots, and cabbages) yield generously, demanding little from us aside from the care of the soil and attention. But if you want your harvest to also include tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, and peppers it pays to approach the growing season with a definite plan and a few simple tricks to maximize summer heat.

This book will take you through every month and the many eccentricities of the PNW gardening year. You’ll find tips and techniques as well as suggestions of plants and specific varieties proven to excel in our region. No matter what you’re looking to harvest—a windowsill crop of midwinter microgreens, fresh salads spring through fall, a bumper crop of tomatoes, or a few savory herbs to enliven your dinner—this is your guide to navigating the delicious possibilities available to the PNW grower. Read this book cover to cover on a rainy winter night for a complete crash course in edible gardening. Or pick it up midsummer to discover how to turn the seedlings you purchased on a whim at the farmers market into a tasty, healthy harvest. Growing good food means something different to each of us.
    
Whether you’re new to growing or a seasoned green thumb, cultivating a year-round PNW garden is a continuing education as well as a nearly constant feast. Some years are more challenging or fruitful than others and sometimes the harshest seasons are the best teachers. Tellingly, a recent record cold spring divided backyard growers into two camps: anguished impatience as months slipped by unproductively between our way-too-clean fingers; and resilient, philosophic acknowledgement that this sometimes happens. The latter group comforted, and fed, by overwintered and perennial crops producing in spite of irregular climatic circumstances.
    
Distracted by deadlines and a busy life, I found myself squarely among the anguished. But even though this year’s harvest has not been my best by a long shot—a cruel and humbling irony when days are spent writing and telling others how to succeed—it was modestly offset by endless salad greens, mountains of kale, and the sweetest peas I’ve ever picked. I plan to spend the winter rebuilding my soil, installing a sheltering windbreak, and putting up shop lights for a seed-starting area in the basement. It’s time to shake off last year and anticipate the next. The new seed catalogs should start arriving any day and I can’t wait.
    
Welcome to another year in the garden. Dig in!

Table of Contents

Preface 8

Acknowledgments 12

Part 1 Get Started 15

Our Unique Maritime Climate 16

Gardening 101 23

Garden Planning 40

Part 2 Get Planting 53

January: Plotting the Edible Garden Year 54

February: Gardening Under Cover 61

March: Start Growing 72

April: Control Issues 82

May: Ornamental Edibles, Pretty Tasty! 93

June: Cultivating Delicious 104

July: Summer's Here 115

August: Relax and Reap 124

September: Renewed Energy 132

October: Putting the Garden to Bed 141

November: Feast Days and Storm Season 152

December: Gifts from the Garden 160

Part 3 Gifts from the Garden 167

Resources and Services 218

Further Reading 222

Metric Conversions 223

Index 224

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