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Gardening Tips for Portland’s Climate

As we settle into the spring season, gardening is on the mind. If you are new to the rainy and mild Portland climate, or maybe you just have a yard for the first time, here are some beginner’s tips on how to make sure your gardening plans are a success.


Growing season approx 200 days starting around mid april


The Climate Zone is 8b


If you are new to yard work, it’s okay if you haven’t heard of this, but you’ll find it incredibly helpful in planning your yard. Look at links such as this one and visit with local nurseries to learn what plants have the best chance of survival. Portland’s growing season starts around mid April and lasts about 200 days, so make sure you know what will work best for your new home!


Prepare to mow, if you want to have grass in the first place


The city of Portland averages about 40 inches of rain a year, so be ready for your grass to grow quick and grow tall. Find a good lawnmower or be prepared to hire a landscaper to do it for you, because around here grass isn’t something you can ignore. In fact, many locals try to minimize the amount of grass on their property in exchange for plants, trees, or patios.


Know where the sun is


With a somewhat limited number of sunny days, make sure you know how much light reaches your yard or garden throughout the day. A corner that is hidden by your house’s shadow for the majority of the afternoon probably isn’t ideal for vegetation that needs a good dose of sunshine. Double check the tags on plants for the sun requirements and know what you have to work with before you start buying a bunch of new plants, as fun and tempting as that might sound.


Add some color to the gray winters


A nice little gardening trick for Pacific Northwesterners is to plant with color. If you dread the long, grey winters here, look into winter-blooming plants and trees such as witch hazel that can bring color and fragrance to the otherwise chilly, dull winters. If you really want to feel like a Portlander, consider throwing some roses into the mix as well (seeing as our nickname is Rose City and all).


Keep saturation in mind


Especially in rainy months, the ground can get saturated and drown your lawn. When this happens, try not to walk on the grass too much as this will compact the ground further as well as cause a muddy mess. Keep the yard free of debris as best you can and be wary of water pooling in your yard. There are some preventative measures you can take to prevent pooling, such as aerating your lawn, but each yard is going to be a little different in how it handles large amounts of moisture.


One final note


If you just moved into a new house and are unfamiliar with with some things growing in your yard, consider waiting until everything starts budding/blooming before tearing it up. While no one wants to be overrun with weeds, you don’t want to accidentally pull out bulbs or other perennial plants that could be spectacular in a few months.


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