How to water in Multnomah county! I moved from So. Cal. And find I NEED LOTS OF HELP FROM YOU, my husband was with Cooperative Ext but that is no help to me. I do not know the plants that a gardener put in and I can’t afford to ask her help. I have always had a good relationship with Ext I am now asking for help! I have already spent too much water on the garden — to the point they sent out a worker to see if. Had a leak (I do not)
Thank you for using Ask an Expert for help with watering your garden. Indeed, Multnomah County is quite different than Southern California.
One great resource in our area is the Regional Water Providers Consortium, which most water providers in your area are members of. They provide a number of tips, how-to videos, and general guidance for yard and garden watering.
You can get tips on watering efficiently year-round here, with information such as planting plants with similar water needs together or watering before 10:00 am or after 6:00 pm.
They can also provide a water gauge to help determine how much water is actually being used.
And (my favorite) a Weekly Watering Number. Based on the conditions in your zip code, they give advice on how much to water each week for lawns, vegetable gardens, perennials, trees, and shrubs.
All of these tools can help you, but the best "water meter" is close observation. Don't be afraid to dig down a few inches an hour or so after you've watered. Did the water go deeply? or stay on the surface? Established trees don't need much water, but colorful annuals and container plants may need water twice a day in these hottest days.
The publication Water-efficient Plants for the Willamette Valley is an authoritative source of information on plants, their characteristics and their needs. I will say that the first few pages seem intimidating in their detail, but skip over them to the plant lists. These catalog (among other things) the plant size, its water needs, and some details, such as “large thorns” or “needs good drainage.”
The Metro website is also a source of local information focusing on native plant choices and urban habitat.
Don’t forget about in-person help from the Multnomah County Master Gardeners. Their hotline is available from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm, Monday through Friday, at 503-445-4608.
Getting to know gardening in a new region can be a challenge. Give it time and we’re sure you will enjoy the Pacific Northwest.