PNW Vegetable Gardening, Onion Family

Onions—Photo credit: MG Gia Parsons Chive blossoms—Photo credit MG Gia Parsons Garlic——Photo credit: MG Gia Parsons

Photo credit: MG Gia Parsons

Principles of Vegetable Gardening in Western Washington and the Onion Family

New to gardening? Or new to gardening in the maritime Northwest? As one of the fastest growing areas in the U.S., King County has many people who have moved here from all over the U.S. — and the world. California, Utah, Iowa, India, China, Guam—all have vastly different climates than ours. While our mild winters make it possible to grow vegetables all year long, it’s rarely hot enough to grow heat-loving edibles such as melons, beefsteak tomatoes, or okra without careful attention to variety selection and/or taking special measures. Our summers are shorter and cooler than many other areas. New gardeners and gardeners new to our area will learn the principles of successfully growing vegetables here.

Did you know that garlic is planted in the fall? The second half of this class provides all you need to know about the Onion Family (the Allium genus in the family Amaryllidaceae), which includes  garlic, onions, leeks, chives, shallots. The class covers variety selection, what “open pollinated (OP)” means, cultural requirements, propagation/seed saving and the consequences of saving seed from hybrid varieties, container gardening, major diseases and pests, and pest management techniques — so you can get started planting garlic right after the class! Below are resources to enhance your learning.

Principles of Vegetable Gardening in Western Washington and the Onion Family   PowerPoint slides to download

Resources for Principles of Vegetable Gardening in the Maritime Northwest

  • New to Gardening in Western Washington? — WSU Extension Puget Sound Gardening Tip Sheet #3, a free online publication, describes the basics for getting off to a good start.
  • Home Vegetable Gardening in WashingtonWSU Extension Publication EM057E, a free download PDF, describes site-specific growing conditions, tools and equipment, vegetable planting, irrigation, soil management, integrated pest management, harvesting, vegetable storage and preservation.
  • How to Determine Your Garden Microclimate— WSU Extension Publication FS181E, a free download PDF, explains how climate affects your growing conditions. Elevation, rainfall, plant hardiness zones, and microclimates determine what is possible to grow.
  • Methods for Successful Cover Crop Management in Your Home Garden — WSU Extension Publication FS119E, a free download PDF, explains how cover crops can be an effective way to maintain soil organic matter, supply and retain nitrogen, reduce soil erosion, and suppress weeds.
  • Fall and Winter Vegetable Gardening in the Pacific Northwest— PNW 548, a free download PDF publication by Oregon State University, University of Idaho, and Washington State University. Learn how to plan ahead and enjoy fresh vegetables from your garden using cool-season crops and season extenders such as cloches, cold frames, and row covers.
  • Plastic Culture to Extend Growing Season— WSU Snohomish County Extension online publication about do-it-yourself methods to improve the climate for your garden plants.
  • Territorial Seed Company sells seeds that do well in the Pacific Northwest and their website contains valuable planting details, information about pests, and gardening videos. Their catalog is handy to have in the garden.
  • Maritime Northwest Garden GuideTilth Alliance’s book is a month-by-month gardening manual tailored to the Pacific Northwest climate (128 pages, $18.95).

Onion Family Resources

  • Growing Garlic in Home Gardens — WSU Extension Publication FS162E, a free download PDF, has information on planting guidelines, plant maintenance, pest management, harvest, and storage. Garlic is a hardy perennial that can overwinter, but it is grown as an annual because it is planted in the fall and harvested in midsummer of its first year of growth.
  • Growing Onions in Home GardensWSU Extension Publication FS097E, a free download PDF, has information on planting guidelines, plant maintenance, pest management, harvest, and storage.

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