“How can we get there—
there the place blossoms bloom in Might,
the fruit ready in silence?”
– James McGrath, “Combined Greens: Poems From the Winter Backyard,” 2019
After a few years of trial and error rising greens in raised beds, I can say with confidence one of the simplest ways to “get there — the place blossoms bloom in Might” (and all through the rising season) — is by planning forward with a planting calendar.
Start by contemplating: 1) the greens you wish to eat, 2) the rising situations in your backyard, 3) the dimensions of your rising area and 4) the effort and time you need to spend in your backyard.
Based mostly on information of native climate patterns over the previous 5 years (reported by Climate Underground from the Rogue Valley Worldwide-Medford Airport), I can predict with affordable assurance the final spring frost will happen in my backyard by April 18, and the primary fall frost by Oct. 23 (dates will fluctuate by every week or two relying on elevation and out there daylight).
These dates present me with 196 days for rising greens, not together with overwintering greens or rising indoors or in chilly frames through the fall and winter.
Though international warming has lengthened the rising season within the Rogue Valley, it additionally presents further challenges for gardeners. Erratic temperatures, notably in spring and fall, are liable to freeze or deplete crops if gardeners are caught off guard. It’s important to maintain monitor of excessive and low temperatures and have a protecting cowl useful.
Summer season temperatures have elevated (in 2022, there have been 42 days with temperatures above 95 levels throughout June, July, August and September, in addition to a number of days within the 90s throughout October). Such excessive temperatures may cause decrease germination charges and blossom/fruit drop for heat-sensitive crops equivalent to tomatoes, beans and squash. Lettuce, spinach and brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower) are likely to bolt sooner.
Alternatively, hotter fall temperatures final 12 months enabled me to proceed harvesting tomatoes, beans and peppers till November.
Along with prolonged warmth waves, wildfire smoke within the valley makes gardening outside unhealthy and ugly throughout July and August. This presents challenges for summertime backyard upkeep and harvesting and likewise for beginning fall crops.
Then once more, having hotter excessive temperatures through the winter makes working outside extra nice. Gardeners can efficiently develop greens in chilly frames or row tunnels, so long as they do not overlook to uncover them on hotter days and hold them lined on chilly nights.
In recent times, our space has additionally skilled decreases in rainfall and snowfall throughout fall, winter and spring (in 2022, Medford’s accrued precipitation was 14.41 inches, which was about 4 inches beneath regular). This implies gardeners should irrigate extra, notably in summer season when water provides are at their lowest. Capturing and storing rainwater through the moist season has turn out to be more and more useful.
With these challenges and benefits of the Rogue Valley gardening seasons in thoughts, it is useful to plan your backyard by grouping the crops you need to develop into households with related rising wants.
The greens I need to develop this 12 months fall into 10 plant households:
Amaranthaceae (amaranth) household: Swiss chard, beets, spinach (cool climate crops, 45-90 days to maturity)
Amaryllidaceae (allium) household: onions, garlic, shallots, chives (cool climate crops, 60-120 days to maturity)
Asteraceae (aster/daisy) household: lettuce/greens (cool to heat climate crops, 30-45 days to maturity)
Brassicaceae (mustard) household: kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, radish (cool climate crops, 60-90 days to maturity)
Cucurbitaceae (cucumber) household: Cucumbers (additionally squash and melons) (heat climate crops, 60-90 days to maturity)
Ericaceae (heath) household: blueberries (heat climate crop, 60-90 days to maturity after blossoming)
Fabaceae (legume) household: peas, beans (cool, heat climate crops, 60-75 days to maturity)
Lamiaceae (mint) household: basil, oregano, rosemary, sage, mint (heat climate crops, 45-75 days to maturity)
Rosaceae (rose) household: strawberries (heat climate crops, 30-45 days after blossoming to maturity)
Solanaceae (nightshade) household: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, tomatillos (additionally potatoes) (heat climate crops, 60-90 days to maturity)
Based mostly on these maturity days and April 18 because the date of the final spring frost, right here is my 2023 planting calendar for my 250-square-foot vegetable backyard. By training intensive planting, I am hoping to develop about 30 totally different sorts of greens and herbs, plus annual companion flowers (nasturtiums, alyssum and calendula).
Seed outside: peas
Seed outside: peas, carrots, radishes, lettuce, bulb onions, kale, spinach
Seeds indoors: kale, cabbage, broccoli
Transplant begins: herbs, strawberries
Seed outside: peas, carrots, radishes, lettuce, spinach, chives, coriander
Seed indoors: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, Swiss chard, companion flowers
Transplant begins: kale, cabbage, broccoli
Seed outside: radishes, lettuce, coriander, chives, beets, carrots
Seeds indoors: basil, cucumber, tomatillo
Transplant begins: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, Swiss chard, blueberry bushes, companion flowers
Seed outside: pole beans, beets, lettuce
Transplant begins: basil, cucumber, tomatillo
Seed outside: pole beans
Seed indoors: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts
Seeds indoors: lettuce, kale
Transplant begins: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts
Seed outside: onions, peas, turnips, Swiss chard
Transplant begins: lettuce, kale
Seed outside: garlic, shallots, cowl crops
Seeds in chilly body: lettuce/greens
November and December
Assess vegetable manufacturing and plan for subsequent 12 months
My subsequent step is to switch this data to a big month-to-month calendar and manage my seeds for every month’s planting. Subsequent week, I will share my plan for planting the vegetable beds. Keep tuned!
Rhonda Nowak is a Rogue Valley gardener, trainer, and author. E-mail her from her at Rnowak39@gmail.com.