gardening in a cooler, more wet climate

Discussion in 'Fruit and Vegetable Gardening' started by tgplp, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. tgplp

    tgplp Active Member

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    Hi everyone! I was wondering if anyone knows of any vegetables that grow well in cooler, rainier climates. I have started a bunch of tomatoes from seed, some of which are supposed to grow well in cooler climates. Does anyone have any ideas to help make sure that the tomatoes produce ripe tomatoes before the first frost in fall? The last frost is in March sometime, if that helps.
    Thanks for any advice!
    ~tgplp
     
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Most cabbage types (savoy cabbage, white cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, spring greens; not broccoli so well), turnips, swedes, broad beans, spinach, beetroot, swiss chard, leeks, potatoes.

    Tomatoes generally need quite a lot of summer heat, but Seattle does have quite a warm, dry summer by maritime climate standards, so you could probably grow them too. Can't grow them where I am though.
     
  3. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Try planting tomatoes against a wall that gets sun, Even if in pots. Use the smaller cherry tomatoes. We were about 1,000 feet above sea level in my youth. Mother wanted tommys and they normaly did not ripen well. However the warmth against the wall (stone in this case) did the trick. Dad was growing Grosse Lise (sp) which are big. Mind you we did get a fair bit of sun over summer.

    Liz
     
  4. tgplp

    tgplp Active Member

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    Liz, thanks! That's a great idea! Maybe i'll get some pots... what do you recomend i use for pots? Is there some sort of bucket i can get, without having to spend money on a special pot? Any things around the house i could use? Thanks for your help! Tomatoes are one of my favorite things to grow, but where i live, it makes it kind of tough....
     
  5. leaf kotasek

    leaf kotasek Active Member

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    try some plastic totes with holes punched in the bottom--- you can get some very deep ones. you could try just about anything that's big enough, provided there're holes in the bottom to prevent rot.

    lettuce! you could plant lettuce and peas! and mulch does a lot to keep the soil warm. you could also have the tomatoes against a wall as liz suggested, then leaning up a pane of glass against the wall and over the plants. a simple frame with transparent plastic stretched over it would work just as well.
     
  6. tgplp

    tgplp Active Member

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    Leaf Kotasek,
    thanks for the advice! What all can you use for mulch? Do you think it is alright to use pine needles? I have a big bag of pine needles, and i thought that maybe i could use them for mulch. I have a bunch of lettuce seeds, and I grew lettuce last year. You are right, they grew great! So did spinich....
    I have no idea how to grow peas. Do you have any advice? And are there different types of peas? What type should i grow?
    Thanks!
    ~tgplp
     
  7. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Watch the pine needles will make soil sour (acidic) better use them on things like azalea and rhodos or hyderangeas. If you cant use them elsewhere compost in layers with other material. For eg household vegetable left overs layered with the pine needles. I do that in a barrel with a hole in bottom directly to the earth and I get the compost worms turn up to do the job of turning it into usable stuff. Have a loose lid to keep your vermin out and make sure it does not get too dry or too wet. I like the glass idea BUT be careful you don't burn them. Maybe will need a white wash to filter sun. An old window from a recycle place would do the trick. Also I don't know if you get the polystyrene boxes that they use for shipping fragile fruit (fruit and veg shop) they make great vegetable planters for all sorts of things. Make sure you have drainage. Do you have road side garbage recycle a couple of times a year for large items? If so that has been the source of my large pots including some really nice terracotta look alikes

    Liz
     
  8. tgplp

    tgplp Active Member

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    Thanks for the great tips! I'll try composting the pine needles. I'm glad i can also use the pine needles for the rhodos, azeleas, and hyderangeas in my yard. I'm glad to hear that i can grow great things in Seattle, whether it's warm or not.
    ~tgplp
     
  9. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Some of the hard squashes also do well in climates like yours. Pumpkin, Kombucha, Hubbard and Acorn have done well for me in cold, wet areas. Zucchs and melons, though, don't stand it well.

    If you've got a good microclimate, you can grow bananas too - Dwarf Orinoco is a good choice for the PNW.
     
  10. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Pine needles make good mulch, they don't acidify the soil anything like as much as popular belief claims.
     
  11. tgplp

    tgplp Active Member

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    Thanks everyone for the gread advice! I was wondering.... do carrots do well in a cold wet climate? What about radishes? I am getting a little confused about the pine needle mulch. Liz says it will be acidy, and Micheal says it won't be.... what should i do? Use the pine needles in my veggies? Or my azaleas and rhodos? I'm so confused!
    Thank you everyone for helping me!
    ~tgplp
     
  12. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Why not on both?
     
  13. tgplp

    tgplp Active Member

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    Micheal, that's a good idea. I'll try it on both. I have enough pine needles. And besides- i don't have to cover my whole garden with pine needles!
    ~tgplp
     
  14. Pasquale

    Pasquale Active Member

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    Seattle has the same weather condition as Vancouver BC, wet and cool most of the year, but come: June, July and August it has to be two best places on earth. Yes you may grow any kind of tomatoes, cherries, Roma or the beefsteak variety. Plant in full sun not earlier than May first, before that time the soil is normally too cold. The ideal condition would be like Liz suggest against a south wall. Tomatoes to grow well need a constant supply of moisture, for that reason I would not recommend growing them in pots; the afternoon sun would dry them out too fast.
     
  15. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Well I would use them on the Azaleas etc. and work compost and manures into the veges. I am saying acidic because my soil is already very acidic so Michael is probably right in that it is ok to use them. Re carrots etc do you raise your beds either dug or maybe with a wooden/brick border. This way roots will go deep and beds are drained. We used to artificial water so I assume your real rain is fine. I have a suspicion Seattle has a similar temperature to Melbourne at least in your growing season.
    Yes just had a look. We have less rain and summer (2 months) are probably hotter. I think carrots etc would do very well

    Liz
     
  16. tgplp

    tgplp Active Member

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    "Seattle has the same weather condition as Vancouver BC, wet and cool most of the year, but come: June, July and August it has to be two best places on earth. Yes you may grow any kind of tomatoes, cherries, Roma or the beefsteak variety. Plant in full sun not earlier than May first, before that time the soil is normally too cold. The ideal condition would be like Liz suggest against a south wall. Tomatoes to grow well need a constant supply of moisture, for that reason I would not recommend growing them in pots; the afternoon sun would dry them out too fast."
    I'm glad I can grow tomatoes, Pasquale! Thank you, Pasquale and Liz! :) And Liz, I do use a raised bed. It is raised about eight inches, and it is made out of wood. I put potting soil in it last year, and my plants did great, especially the artichokes. I planted a bunch of carrots, but in the end, I only harvested three! Radishes did a bit better. Any reasons to why the carrots didn't do that great? I am happy to at least harvest any carrots! Usually, my garden does not work out.
    ~tgplp
     
  17. leaf kotasek

    leaf kotasek Active Member

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    make sure your carrots are in well-drained soil and thin them properly.

    as for the mulch, i like hay or straw because it enriches the soil as well as keeping it warm. if you can get it (i don't know if you have access to hay), fluff it up if it gets flat to prevent rot. sawdust, bark mulch, even newspaper also work great.

    you filled your raised bed with potting soil? i would be careful about that; many potting soils are far to heavy for your purposes. maybe try adding some compost, manure, maybe some peat moss. you want the soil to seem rich yet light; drainage is vital. :-]

    i put glass over my tomatoes early in the season and late in the season. i also put it on when it gets rainy; i don't want the soil to get saturated.

    ps: i say you should give the pine needles a shot. i've always heard that pine needles lower pH a lot, but not from experts, so who knows. happy gardening!
     
  18. tgplp

    tgplp Active Member

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    Leaf Kotasek,
    I forgot to tell you- I also put lots of compost in! We have a compost bin under our porch... it is just a wooden bin we fill with leaves, veggie scraps, pulled weeds, and worms. We don't do anything to it, just let it sit there. I know you are supposed to turn it or something, but we just let it sit. And last year, there was some nice soil in it, so I put it in my garden. I hope this is okay. I have no idea where to get hay or straw... except for the hay bales they sell in the fall for decoration! :)
    Sorry, I'm pretty new to gardening... what is pH? I've seen it on websites about gardening before, and i know it has to do with soil quality or something... but can you explain to me what it is?
    Thanks!
    ~tgplp
     
  19. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    tgplp, one thing to watch out for with carrots is the carrot rust fly maggot. They are really bad here where I live, near Vancouver. I've given up trying to grow carrots because the only way I could succeed was to spray with Diazinon, which is not exactly a wholesome substance and has now been banned from use in home gardens. There are organic methods of avoiding the maggots, but they involve careful timing of the planting schedule or using floating row covers. I didn't really want to take that much care with a home-grown vegetable that isn't that much superior to the store-bought product. You might have better luck with your carrots, especially if there aren't many other gardens nearby, where carrot rust flies may be breeding.
     
  20. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Ph refers to soil alkalinity and acidity. Eg Hydrangeas are pink in alkaline soils and rich blues and purple in acidic.
    Some vegetables like more alkaline soils so people add garden lime.
    This info may be a bit heavy

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soil_pH

    http://www.greenharvest.com.au/tools/info_sheet/soil_pH_info.html

    Tgplg that is the way I do my bins. I have them in a sheltered spot usually with a loose lid and the bottom has a hole straight onto the soil and the worms come all by them selves. Use a rubbish bin I have a huge blue bin (non toxic chemical container) Mine lasts at least 3 years before they need emptying. Layer with sawdust, leaves straw, paper, watch hay full of grass seed some which you may not want in garden. Same goes when you use it for mulch. Make sure the whole thing does not get too dry or wet or hot from sun.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2010
  21. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

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    I can recommend Johnny's Select Seeds as a good source for cool, wet, and short-season gardening. They do a lot of breeding themselves, and extensively test the varieties they sell. Maine isn't Washington, of course, but we do face many of the same challenges.
     
  22. JanR

    JanR Active Member

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    Another catalog option would be Territorial Seeds in Oregon. http://www.territorialseed.com/ They are a great seed company and they are in the Wet Northwest. :)
     
  23. leaf kotasek

    leaf kotasek Active Member

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    yep, that's pretty much how i do my compost tgplp; i dump a bunch of stuff in a bin and let it sit. i don't turn it or even layer it even though i know i should. i keep telling myself, next year i'll learn to compost expertly.

    i forgot about hayseeds! oops... i didn't have a problem with it because we always cut grass for hay when everything was just starting to flower. the seeds didn't get a chance to develop.

    in answer to your question about peas, here're some points straight from a book:

    -annual and self-fertile
    -plant before final spring frost; slowly-warming days are ideal for peas
    -well-drained soil
     
  24. tgplp

    tgplp Active Member

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    Everyone, thanks for everything! I am glad some of you sent me a website that sells seeds! I love seed catalogs! And as for the peas, I think I should give them a try. Do they grow on a trellis, or on the ground? I think I understand pH a bit more, now, Liz! And vitog, thanks for tellling me about the carrot rust fly maggot... luckily, no one in our neighborhood grows a vegetable garden... in fact, I don't think i even know anyone else nearby even grows vegetables! Do early tomatoes really have ripe tomatoes about 60 days after transplanting?!
    ~tgplp
     
  25. JanR

    JanR Active Member

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    It depends on the peas, though even short peas will benefit from having something to grow up. Tall Telephone Peas grow really tall and definitely need a trellis. If you only grow one type of Peas, I would highly recommend Sugar Snap Peas. They are wonderful peas. You eat the pod and all and are great. They most often get eaten fresh and rarely get cooked. They have developed a short variety, which I believe is called Sugar Ann, but I like the regular Sugar Snaps the best.
     

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