Digging In

Prepare for your summer garden with our updated planting guide

Photo by Todd Cooper.

Daffodils and crocuses are in bloom, the sun sets at 7 pm, and it was finally warm enough to wear shorts this past weekend. Spring is here, so it’s time to start planning your summer garden. 

Eugene Weekly has updated our annual planting guide, thanks to more locally focused climate-based information from Oregon State University’s Extension Service program. 

It’s a great idea to get your soil tested if you haven’t worked in it recently, says Erica Chernoh of OSU Extension Lane County, who oversees the Lane County Master Gardener program. 

“Even just getting a basic soil pH test can help people know whether or not the pH is within the correct range for growing vegetables,” Chernoh tells EW. “Or if they want to plant blueberries and need to acidify their soil then they can gauge that as well.”

OSU Extension also recommends assessing the tilth of your soil. “Good tilth means a soil is easy to dig in, accepts and stores water readily, has good drainage, and makes a good seed bed,” it states on its website. “To maintain or improve soil tilth, add fresh or composted organic matter each year.”

According to OSU, you can start planting your broccoli, carrots, parsley and onions in March. 

If you don’t have the space for a full-blown garden, Chernoh wants to remind people that lots of things can be grown in containers. “You can grow tomatoes, great tomatoes, in a five-gallon bucket,” she says. “There are a lot of herbs that can be grown in small one-gallon containers or on apartment balconies and things like that.”

In addition to vegetables and herbs, you can legally grow up to four cannabis plants at home if you’re over 21 and your house isn’t within 1,000 feet of a school. According to SunMed Growers, planting time can start anywhere from late April to early June, but cannabis ideally needs 12 or more hours of sunlight and 70-85 degree weather — meaning more like early June for western Oregon growers. SunMed Growers also states that growing in pots allows for you to bring the plant inside if there are cold or rainy spells. And bringing it back to soil tests, the optimal pH for cannabis is around 5.8-6.5. 

You can find more information about setting up your garden at Extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog/pub/em-9027-growing-your-own.

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