Saturday, April 1, 2006

Time to hit the garden and yard .. my climate zone

So, I learned something today. I had thought where I live the climate zone per USDA Hardiness chart was in zone 8-9. Ahh, but I found the below today which points out my maritime environment puts me more in line with Zone 5. Now I will adjust my planting times accordingly.
Also, it's April 1, and I'm eager to start the seedlings, and I learned something else about planting some of the vegetables too early. (Lietta)

From Washington state Master Gardener's website; Everything can go into the ground now, except the heat loving crops like tomatoes, peppers, beans, squash, cukes, corn and basil.
Sunset Climate Zones, Oregon State Univ., LANDSCAPE PLANTS

Sunset's Climate Zones
In the Sunset Western Garden Book (1996, 2001, Sunset Pub. Corp., Menlo Park, Calif.), the western U.S. is divided into 24 Climate Zones. These Climate Zones do NOT correspond to the USDA Hardiness Zones.
Sunset's Climate Zones
are based on winter minimum temperatures, but also include other factors such as summer high temperatures, length of growing season, humidity, and rainfall. This approach is used to avoid the difficulties encountered when the USDA Hardiness Zones are applied to parts of the western U.S. For example, with the USDA Hardiness Zones, the Olympic rain forest in Washington State is in the same Hardiness Zone, Zone 8, as part of Arizona's Sonora Desert. Seven Sunset Climate Zones are used to cover Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. They are:
Zone 1

Coldest Winters in the West In this Zone, snow falls and stays on the ground (from a day to all winter) and the growing season is from 75 to 150 days, but frost may occur on any night of the year. The Cascades and most of Central and Eastern Oregon are in this Zone, including the Oregon cities of Bend, Redmond, Burns, etc.Zone 2

Second-Coldest Western Climate Here snow is expected but the average annual winter temperatures are higher than in Zone 1; they range from -3o to -34o F. A few lower elevation sites in Eastern Oregon, such as LaGrand and Baker City, are in Zone 2, as are Spokane and Pullman, Washington, and Salt Lake City, Utah.Zone 3

Mildest of High-Elevation and Interior Climates This Zone is often called the "banana belt" since the winter are fairly mild, but minimum temperatures may range from 13o to -24o F. The growing season can be shorter than in Zone 2, but the winter temperatures are always higher. Oregon's Coastal Mountains, as well as the Oregon cities of Hood River, The Dalles, Pendleton, and Ontario, and Boise, Idaho, have Zone 3 climates.Zone 5

Marine Influence Along the Northwest Coast Mild ocean air bring relatively warm winters in this Zone. Minimum temperatures range from 28o to 1o F, although in some year a "big freeze" can cause considerable damage to plants. Zone 5 extends from the Puget Sound area in Washington, including Seattle and Tacoma, south along the Pacific Coast to north of Brookings, Oregon, including Astoria, Newport, Coos Bay.Zone 6

Willamette Valley Warmer summers distinguish this Zone from Zone 5, average temperatures being 5o to 9o F higher. Average winter lows are similar or lower than those of Zone 5. Much of the Valley has a long growing season, with 279 days in Portland. However, Portland may also experience icy winds blowing down the Columbia. Zone 6 extends from Longview, Washington to Roseburg, Oregon. This of course includes Salem, Corvallis, and Eugene, Oregon.Zone 7

Oregon's Rogue River Valley: This Zone has hot summers and mild but pronounced winters. Typical winter lows range from 23o to 9o F, record lows vary from 15o to -1o F. The Oregon cities of Grants Pass, Medford, and Ashland are in Zone 7.Zone 17

Marine Effects in Extreme Southwestern Oregon and Northern California A narrow strip along the Coast between Gold Beach and Brookings, Oregon is in this Zone (as is the Coast of Northern California and much of the Bay Area). posted by Lietta Ruger

Spring - time for yard and garden - where's those helping grandkids!

Giving the Harry Lauder Walking Stick tree a much-needed trim and setting out some of those early spring primroses and pansies launched us into our spring clean-up. After the winds and rains of winter, our yard looks strewn with debris and left-over projects undone from the end of last fall.

So, getting the planting station in the carport ready for a new spring workout, we got the area cleaned out. Since we tore out the carpet in the main floor of the house, it had been taken outside to the temporary place under the carport. Sweetie got it all hauled out and loaded into his little pick-up to go to the local landfill. Swept out the winter leaves, and tidied up the area. Found grandchildren's toys from last August when the family stayed with us....ahhhh, miss them all so much.

Pruned up the wild fushia bush and took down it's height. That and a hefty pruning of the Harry Lauder Walking Stick tree and we have some serious burn-barrel fires in store. Maybe our neighbor will be as accomodating as last year and haul it to his burn pile for disposal. First spring lawn mowing done. General clean up in the yard and it is already looking much better - ready for spring and new projects.

The kitchen vegetable garden needs tilling and new plantings and I'd like to expand the vegetable garden this year. My vision of it requires more back-breaking labor than either of us really want to expend, so looking for some easy short cuts to make more raised beds for growing more vegetables. I'd like to try the upside down tomatoes this year. I also thought of getting several half whiskey barrels and planting in them.

I've taken on gardening as a leisurely hobby, outdoor exercise and that great feeling of being connected to nature. But I've wanted to get serious about my kitchen vegetable garden as a means of producing some of our food. I'll NEVER want to learn how to do canning thought, but I'm receptive to the art of 'freezing' what I can of the harvest.

We had a small windfall of a bit of extra $, so I went out to the garden store where I spent 4 hours just looking at every item; envisioning my entire spring and summer and what I could do; then did a reality check and made a list of what I most wanted right now that would fit the small bonus $ amount. In my mind I spent several hundred $ but my reality was quite different than my mental shopping spree. In my mind I had lined up to buy 3 trees, 4 bushes, a new wrought iron with canopy outside room, redwood patio set, water fountain gardens for several places in the yard, trellises, wheelbarrow, electric roto-tiller, red lava rock, mulching, mini-greenhouses in several sizes, several more whiskey barrel planters and hundreds of packets of seeds, bulbs and tubers. WoW - had a great time imagining all I could buy....but the few 20 dollar bills in my wallet just wouldn't stretch that far.

With carefully pruning away my mental shopping, I made a list of what I could buy with my real available dollars. I bought pruning shears (boring), potting soil (boring), seed packets (fun - but I had to put about 50 packets back - over my budget), a new tree = Mt Fuji white cherry, the usual assortment of primroses, pansies, and a few other 2' starter flowers, and I found 3 summer tops at price I couldn't resist so I treated myself.

It was time to refer back to my Wee Garden website and update it some, and I learned something about the climate zone where I live in Pacific coastal area. It's not zone 8 like the gardening books and USDA climate zone tell me; it's zone 5 because of the Pacific winds and climate zone. Well, the good news is that with zone 5, the last frost is later than zone 8, so the planting season is later. Might explain why all the seeds I've started for the last 3 years don't seem to germinate. I need to start them later and actually create a greenhouse environment for them of heat, light and moisture. Forget tomatoes, no way in the climate zone I'm in with short, short hot season can I grow them from seed. Sounds like my instincts to buy starter vegetable plants from the nursery is well-founded.

Now where's those grand-darlings to help me with my yard. They really were very helpful and willing workers with the taskings of the yard. Emily hauling off sod to the back, Drew using the big person shovel to dig a hole, their fascination with the worms when we turned the soil.....ahhhhh, I need my families to live closer. All this training them towards their own independence and they are all making their own lives their own way in different parts of the country. I miss them all. I always wanted to own acerage that would allow for building several homes in one place and having family close by but I'm also wanting mostly that they flourish in their own lives.

posted by Lietta Ruger
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