Pacific Northwest Gardening forum: Gardening in Washington State

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Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Feb 10, 2015 9:38 PM CST
Here is where being a Dave's Garden member will really come in handy. So. There is wet western Washington and dry not eastern Washington. Seattle versus Spokane. I have read lots from the western group but can't recall postings from the eastern group. We are thinking it may be time to leave Alaska. We have thought about going further north (brrrr), out to the valley (not a lot better) and while I have time and time again mentioned how much I love Washington and Oregon, I was getting no where. Now DH says maybe Washington. So all you eastern W gardeners, how does you garden grow. Or does it. Dought? Bugs? Poor soil? Give me a hint please? Group hug Thank You! Confused
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Feb 11, 2015 1:59 PM CST
My neighbor, who is from Alaska, tells me that a LOT of people from Alaska end up over here in the Spokane area, mostly in the areas north of Spokane, which is where we are, about half way between Spokane and the Canadian border. I have a greenhouse and grow lots of annuals. Daylilies do fine. I'm still trying to see if I can get some roses to survive. Clematis are happy. Bugs: stink bugs, wasps, yellowjackets, some ants, occasionally grasshoppers, but not too bad. Definitely have to water regularly in the summertime. Soil varies drastically by area. We generally have snow for 5 to 6 months, although right now it has all melted off here. This particular little town (Chewelah) is very nice. Small, without being too "small town-ish." We do live outside the city limits, tho, so maybe things are different in the town itself. Shrug! We like it a lot, and I'm originally from Southern California.
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Feb 11, 2015 8:29 PM CST
Thank You! How hot does it get in the summer? I guess it doesn't rain very much as the mountains cause it to dump on the west side before it can get to you. And how cold in the winter. Snow for 5 or 6 months doesn't sound much better than we have .
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Feb 11, 2015 11:35 PM CST
We get 3 to 4 weeks of temperatures in the 90 to 100 range, generally starting mid July. Cold varies. Some years we get negative temperatures, some not. I think the coldest we got this year was -3. This past year we didn't get snow till after Thanksgiving. Other years it started at the beginning of November. Weather has been really weird the last few years, tho. 50 degree temperatures in February is NOT normal!
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Feb 12, 2015 2:20 PM CST
Mary Stella ...

I live in the lower Klamath mountains in northern California on the dry side. We do have an average rainfall of about 40", but that is only in winter and spring.

Sounds like my climate is warmer than Woofie's but we have the same summer temps. The amount of snow we get depends on the elevation or whether your home is located in a "snow belt". For me, at my elevation, we get snow a few times a year, but it rarely sticks.

Woofie ...

You are right. This not a normal year at all !!! We didn't get any snow or sub-freezing night temps to knock down the weeds this year. The weeds are jumping out of the ground and beginning to flower NOW instead of near the end of April, which is our last frost date. Grumbling Grumbling Grumbling

Generally, when it starts warming up here, it never cools down to the low temps of winter. Who knows what's coming this year ?

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Feb 12, 2015 2:37 PM CST
Thanks Lyn. I have lived here so long that anything above 70 is bordering on too warm. Smiling Not being picky, and realize no place is perfect. I was born in Oakland Calif but never lived there over three months when I was small. Not my kind of place at all. Entire mom's side is from there.

I do love winter, just not so much of it. Nor as cold. I realize to have snow you have to have below 32F. Maybe Nov-Feb? Hilarious! In a place with adequate rain and good soil. Close but not too close to amenities. Oh, I did say I wasn't being picky didn't I? Rolling on the floor laughing
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Feb 12, 2015 2:41 PM CST
I never trust the weather! We've had snow in June. I'll never forget the year I emptied out the GH first week of June and put everything on racks on the north side of the woodshed to start hardening off. All of a sudden, we got this torrential hailstorm, and yup, it was coming out of the north and slammed all that hail into my poor little seedlings! Amazingly, I only lost a handful of plants, but I got absolutely drenched and frozen trying to protect them! Grrrrr!!!
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Feb 12, 2015 2:43 PM CST
Mary Stella ...

I'd give anything to get away from the heat. The weather info on the net wasn't as accurate as it is today when I was relocating. Wow ! Did they get it wrong ! I hate heat.

I was raised in Los Gatos, about 50 miles south of Oakland. I loved growing up there, but I would never go back. The valley I grew up in is now gone. It is no longer my kind of place.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Feb 12, 2015 2:58 PM CST
I have a friend (sort of) who lived in Los Gatos around 1968. Not sure how long. Darlene and Jerry Decker.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Feb 12, 2015 3:26 PM CST
It was a good place to live back then. I left in 1967.

Other than the weather, Weaverville is close ... Smiling

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Tom
Nooksack, WA (Zone 8a)
Ponds
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TomPNW
Feb 24, 2015 3:16 AM CST
Hi Mary,
It sounds like you've had quite an adventure and challenges in Alaska. I lived for some years in Northern Idaho and worked in, around and through Spokane and surrounding areas. I've seen snowy and cold winters there as well as mild (seems to come in spurts). I moved to the west side of Washington about 24 years ago when I got tired of shoveling snow, tire chains and frozen pipes. We moved to Whatcom County in the north western corner of the state. Although Eastern Washington is beautiful in the summer, a sportsman's paradise with lots of wildlife, I've never regretted the move. Here we seldom have a 100*F day in the summer, it is kept temperate by the breeze through the Puget Sound from the Pacific. We get a dusting of snow a couple of times or maybe a little more but it never stays more than a week or two and most times is gone in a day or two. If you want more snow the mountains are only an hour away. Yes it's wet through out the winter and sometimes late into spring but that isn't much of a hindrance unless you live in a low spot, near a river or a sliding hill side. From where we live, Seattle is 2 hours, Vancouver, BC is about 45 minutes and Bellingham or Mount Vernon is about 1/2 hour or so. Not looking it up but just guessing I'd say average summer daytime temperature is between 70 and 75. For the last 3 years I've run my pond pumps year around and some times get a little ice sculpture going on but it never freezes up. You may like the area around Lynden or Ferndale, I think they have the best soil in the county and it's flat land. There are also hills and mountains in Whatcom County. The Olympic Peninsula also has some really nice areas to consider.
I hope you find what you're looking for and good luck on your quest.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Feb 24, 2015 9:46 AM CST
Thank you so much. It sounds ideal to me. Just what we were looking for. I will show your comments to Damien.

Thank You!

Mary Stella
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Lauri
North Central Washington (Zone 5b)
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lauribob
May 8, 2015 11:25 AM CST
Mary,
I live in the Methow Valley in north central Washington, on the east side of the cascades. We are pretty close to the mountains here at elevation 1600', so we get a little more snow than some areas. I have noticed such a change in the weather patterns during the 20 some years we have lived here. Our winters are much milder with a couple degrees below zero for a few days the new norm, as opposed to a couple weeks of minus 20 years ago. I love the warm summers, so that isn't an issue for me, but if you don't like heat, you will want to be careful about what area you think about moving to. I have not noticed the summers getting any hotter over these years, however. It seems to me that anywhere on the Columbia river, the climate is a little more temperate, probably due to the giant body of 50ยบ water to moderate things.

I moved from the west side of the state and had to learn to garden in an area where you don't just take it for granted that everything you throw in the ground will thrive and get twice as big as the tag says. My soil is somewhat sandy, alkaline, and needed a little tender loving care to make it rich and fertile. I can grow a wide variety of plants here, I just need to pay attention to how hardy they are and make sure they don't mind the alkalinity. Artemisias and other silver leafed plants seem to do especially well here, but I also have beautiful hostas and other lush shade plants on the east side of my house in addition to many different sun loving perennials.

The pests are not overwhelming where I live - we used to have a lot of problems with deer, but you are probably used to that up in Alaska. Our local deer population has decreased significantly in recent years due to the introduction of wolves nearby and wildfires. Grasshoppers will eat their fill some years and we get pretty healthy tomato worms once in awhile. Mosquitos can be bad, depending on where you live, but probably not as bad as what you are used to, as well as yellow jackets.

Good luck!
More costumes, less uniforms!
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
May 8, 2015 3:32 PM CST
Thanks Lauri. Maybe now Damien will reconsider staying here. We have had no luck in finding what we want here. From what I have read, your deer do far more damage than our moose. They come in the spring and fall but not too many or too often. At least not this year. I appreciate all the information on your area. It helps us to focus where the possibilities are.

Mary Thank You!
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)

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