What is the best time for starting a vegetable garden at 1000 ft elevation?...

Asked January 15, 2019, 1:00 AM EST

What is the best time for starting a vegetable garden at 1000 ft elevation? Should seeds be started first in the greenhouse or planted directly in the soil? We are trying to amend the soil. This will be year 3 that we are attempting a garden in this climate. What is the best way to balance the soil for maximum growth? It was easy when we had a small urban garden in containers and raised beds. Now we have more room and finding it difficult to get a good soil balance. Things we have done: rototiled the area, put grass clippings and leaves to compost on the garden area, black tarp covering the area thru the winter.

Douglas County Oregon vegetable gardening

1 Response

Thank you for your question, OSU has a comprehensive publication with region-specific advice on vegetable gardening here: https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/em9027 Your altitude is less important than temperatures, which determine length of growing season. As for improving soil, you are taking the right steps by adding organic matter, as this publication explains: https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/ec1561 Rototilling is not recommended, since it destroys soil structure. Organic mulch is the better soil cover, since, unlike plastic, it allows water and air to remain available to the trillions upon trillions of valuable microbes that live in the soil (and which, among other benefits, decompose organic matter to return nutrients to the earth to help grow new plants.) Above all, do not walk on the garden area lest you compress the soil, especially when it is wet, as it compresses the air out. Before you transplant your starts into the garden, when the soil reaches at least 50 degrees, you might want to have a soil test for pH and nutrient availability. The lab can provide suggestions for specific amendments for your crop. Hope this is helpful. Good luck!