No matter the size of your garden, even if it’s just a couple of pots sitting on your porch, the Pacific Northwest has great weather to grow a very large variety of veggies and herbs. We have such nice, moderate temperatures, sunny summers, and good soil. With a little planning and research, you can harvest your garden well into the cold season. I eat homegrown chard and kale nearly year round!
Though it’s already May and you might think it’s too late to get going on your garden, don’t fret! It’s totally not. You can still direct sow seeds for many root vegetables including beets and carrots, greens like chard, kale, and spinach, and you can even sneak in some last minute lettuce before the temp gets to warm. You can also pick up some starts at your local hardware or garden store (my personal favorite is Garden Sphere in Proctor). This is the month when you want to get squash starts in the ground as well as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. While you are at it, grab some nice tomato starts, which can be planted into June; who doesn’t love a fresh tomato?!
If you are like me and have lived in a tiny apartment for the majority of your adult life (or are suddenly interested and don’t know where to begin) and are completely lost when it comes to “yard and garden stuff”, I absolutely recommend the book Vegetable Gardening in the Pacific Northwest, which gives a pretty foolproof monthly breakdown of what to do to whip your garden into shape in order to optimize your space and our unique weather. I’m obsessed with it and it has completely changed my outlook on my previous life as a notorious and ruthless plant murderer.
Another cool regional gardening tip that I learned last year was that our growing seasons are pretty similar to Japan and other areas in Asia; it’s quite easy to grow many unusual or hard to find Asian veggies in the PNW! Half of my family is Japanese, so I grew up eating and cooking a lot of Japanese food, and I’m sometimes frustrated at the lack of or poor quality of Asian vegetables available in most big supermarkets, so I was realllllly excited to learn how well many of them grow here. I grew tons of diakon radishes as well as the herbs nira (like a garlicky chive) and shiso (really delicious and hard to find, but beware, it spreads like crazy so I recommend growing it in a pot!) in my garden last year, and this year I planted Chinese mustard greens, bok choy, and Japanese cucumbers. So far, so good! Kitazawa Seed Co. is a great resource for hard to find Asian seeds.
Good luck on your garden! And if you are still wary about growing your own food, you can always just go to Jungle Fever Exotics(near Point Defiance) and pick up an amazing cactus like this guy I have sitting my back window. I’ve never watered it, ever!