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Summer Gardening in the Northwest

The only way to ensure you have the freshest vegetables is to grow them yourself. Plus, with growing your own you know they are commercial herbicide and pesticide free.

By mid-summer, most gardens are in full swing. Crops such as lettuce, radishes, peas and spinach have had their growing season and are being harvested by this point. Others can be planted now for a delightful Fall Harvest.

Lettuce/Mesclun Mix – the earliest time to plant lettuce is as soon as the risk of frost has passed (generally the second or third week of May). It is a fast-growing vegetable and is ready for the picking in late June/early July. Most lettuce will quickly bolt to seed if the temperatures rise too high, but some varieties are exceptionally well adapted to heat.  The best part is, you can enjoy lettuce again in the fall, as the next planting can be the third week of July for an end of September harvest.

Australian Yellow Lettuce should be called King of Summer, because we can not get it to bolt, even through the hottest days. Its bright green/yellow leaves perk up every night and continue to produce while we harvest the lower leaves.

There are other things to keep in mind during the summer when it comes to gardening. They are:

Keeping the weeds down during the summer can seem like a never-ending battle. It is important to remove them before they go to seed (meaning, the flowers die off and seeds are revealed.) Toss only young weeds in the compost pile. If they have set seed, they need to be thrown in the trash, or better yet, burned. The heat of the compost does not kill all weed seeds.

Water thoroughly, but less often, as only giving your garden a sprinkling does more harm than good. Water during the evening, as the moisture will quickly evaporate in the heat of the day. If you have vegetables that are visibly stressed, spot water during the day then give the entire garden a thorough soaking once the sun has gone down. Rainwater is the first choice for your garden (see: Seattle Rain Barrels), but city/well water will suffice if rainwater is in short supply.

Check your crops for pests and diseases. The sooner you spot a problem, the easier it will be to take care of it. Spider mites and aphids can quickly cause irreparable damage to plants, so getting rid of them quickly is crucial. Many pests and diseases will take advantage of the gardener's neglect; they seem to know just when you're on vacation.

Gardening is a rewarding activity, with the harvest being the most rewarding of all. By taking the steps above, you will soon be enjoying a healthy, bountiful harvest. Happy gardening!

A Year-Round Garden Planner will help you plant and harvest at the correct times of the year (ALL year) for your specific climate.