Ask a Question forum: Help! New to the PNW

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Name: Julie
Snohomish, Washington (Zone 8b)
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jrckellogg
Feb 23, 2015 4:38 PM CST
Help! I recently relocated from dry, sunny AZ, to WA. I have NO idea what I need to do to get my soil ready or even what to plant in this raised bed that faces North & is mostly in the shade. Ideas?? It has a hydrangea (I don't know if I should cut it back more?) another little plant as well. Other then that, weeds. Thoughts??
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[Last edited by jrckellogg - Feb 23, 2015 5:23 PM (+)]
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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Feb 23, 2015 4:48 PM CST
Hey, welcome to ATP, and to the Great Northwest. (I am from there, in FL now). We need a little more specific info about your location before anyone can really recommend plants for that bed. What part of WA are you in?

It's really different along the coast (zone 8, much warmer and a rainforest) than inland where there's lots of dry, high, cold winter areas. (zone 5? , very low rainfall).
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Feb 23, 2015 5:11 PM CST
Hi Julie! Welcome to ATP, WA and the PNW! Welcome!

I can't recommend deep-shade plants but I can help narrow down who to ask. I'll invite some people to view this thread, but which side of the state do you live on? The coastal west, or the dry east?

If you live near the coast, it's going to be VERY unlike AZ. Get used to overcast, drizzle, mist, moss and mild temperatures.

If you're on "the dry side" of the state, maybe conditions will be more familiar to you.

No matter where or what, that raised bed can probably use compost and mulch on top of that. Whether it's clayey, rocky or already well-amended, it probably can use more compost.

And the sooner you give the weeds a chop, the fewer offspring there will be to compete with your plants.

I live north of Seattle, between Everett and Lynnwood. I'm only a mile or two from the coast (Possession Sound / Puget Sound), so I have mild summers and mild winters, clouds and drizzle all fall, winter and spring. Coastal PNW, with a Maritime or Mediterranean climate.

If you have a shady, northern exposure in the Pacific North WET, it sure is NOT going to get a lot of sun! At least, during spring and fall, the overcast will diffuse some light around your house.

On the other hand, I don't know Eastern Washington at all. I understand they have more sun, more snow, less drizzle, fewer cloudy days, more freezing days, and hotter summers.

There are people in the PNW forum who garden in eastern WA, and they may be able to help if you live on the dry side of the mountains.

Which side of the mountains do you live on? I'll bring this thread to the attention of some people in the PNW forum, but which people to call on depends on which part of the state you live in.

BTW, you can find many ATP members by searching the Member List or membership map. If they listed their address in their profile, they show up in the map or in a "Search by Location".

For example, near Spokane, we have : anglebee, TiaLee and thomfoote

search for members near you:
http://garden.org/users/memberlist/

see the member map:
http://garden.org/users/memberlist/map.php


Here's a thread about part-shade plants for the PNW:
Pacific Northwest Gardening forum:
suggestions for a low water, low maintenance, part shade plants


Some PNW threads:

East vs. West WA:
The thread "Gardening in Washington State" in Pacific Northwest Gardening forum


If you're close to Portland or might make a trip of it for other reasons, I saw this "swap meet" where, if you don't have plants yet at your new location, bringing cookies and chocolate to trade might work instead:

The thread "2nd annual 'Shove Prune' plant swap (Portland area)" in Pacific Northwest Gardening forum
[Last edited by RickCorey - Feb 23, 2015 5:14 PM (+)]
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Name: Julie
Snohomish, Washington (Zone 8b)
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jrckellogg
Feb 23, 2015 5:25 PM CST
Thanks for the welcome, I am in Snohomish, about 40 North of Seattle. I also have an east facing planter area which is a total mess. See photo, and I have an area that is clear that I would like to plant something. Would love a little garden but afraid the deer will eat everything I plant.
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And thank you for your responses. I posted on the PNW forum as well. This is so different than AZ....

[Last edited by jrckellogg - Feb 23, 2015 5:34 PM (+)]
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Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
Feb 23, 2015 5:38 PM CST
Welcome! Julie!
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Feb 23, 2015 5:58 PM CST
That looks like a tricky bed to weed! Do those electrical wires and gas pipes go under the soil?

>> I am in Snohomish, about 40 North of Seattle.

Cool, I also live in Snohomish county.

If you live anywhere near Snohomish the town, you HAVE to check out Steuber's Distributing. They are like a wholesale supplier to nurseries, greenhouses, farmers and gardeners. It helps to look at their paper catalog before going there, to know what-all they have available, but you have to go there to get the paper catalog.

I've been there many times but still need my GPS to make the last few turns. Now I get most of my irrigation gadgets there. Certainly I get plug trays and inserts there.

Steuber Distributing Co (360) 568-2626
308 3rd St (Sat. to Noon)
Snohomish, WA 98290



If I remember correctly which "hardware store" is which, this one was pretty good for gardeners. But if you try to buy a 50 pound bag of #2 GRANITE chicken grit, make sure they don't give you the #2 SEASHELL chicken grit!
SNOHOMISH CO-OP TRUE VALUE
168 Lincoln Ave. Snohomish, WA 98290
360-568-2104


This next place is OK if you buy from the list of big bags in "the warehouse" Many things in the Yuppie-looking part of the store are priced for Yuppies, not farmers.
Clearview Feed Store (360) 668-6363
16510 State Route 9 SE # B
Snohomish, WA 98296‎

The Everett Grange is the same way: hugely expensive toys and feeds for pets on display, but affordable garden supplies "in the warehouse":
Everett Grange Co-op Grange Supply, Inc (425) 259-5571
(until 6pm? closed Sunday)
2901 State Street Everett, WA 98201-3841

The Everett Grange is not far from the Lowes in Everett. I think Lowes has a good plant section and some large bags of decent soil amendments, like fine pine bark nuggets.

(I forget which kind of store this next was, but it was interesting enough that I saved its address:
Lynnwood Co-Op (425) 772-2800
19505 24th Ave W, Lynnwood, WA 98036

Here are some other ATP members in our general area:

User - - - - Location - - - - - - - - - - Miles away from "Snohomish WA"
PineNut - - - Lake Stevens, WA 8
Kelliarm - - - - Martha Lake, WA 11
missygs - - - - marysville washington 11
irislover - - - - marysville,washington 11
RickCorey- - - - Everett WA 98204 12
Maukahound - - - Sammamish, WA 19




Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
Garden Photography Region: Pacific Northwest Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Dog Lover Foliage Fan Greenhouse Container Gardener Heucheras Sedums
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springcolor
Feb 23, 2015 6:28 PM CST
Welcome! again Julie! Your going to love it here! See my post in the PNW forum.
Sempervivum for Sale
Name: Julie
Snohomish, Washington (Zone 8b)
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jrckellogg
Feb 23, 2015 11:13 PM CST
>>>>"That looks like a tricky bed to weed! Do those electrical wires and gas pipes go under the soil?"

Another great question Rick, to which I do not know the answer. Shrug!
It took me a long time to clean out the other one. I will have to be careful with the one on the side.
I don't live too far from town. I guess the area I live in is called Dutch Hill. I'm finding out that Snohomish is a big county. You live in Everett? I go there about once a week maybe.

I have not been to Steuber's, but will look them up.
My husband went to the co-op and got something for the grass, to help kill the moss, but help the grass? Confused
He bought whatever they suggested. The moss is brown, hard to rake out, the green grass is in patches and spots...

I've not been to the feed store as of yet. That is farther south, but thanks for the heads up.
Btw, what is granite chicken grit for??? Blinking
So, would you suggest I go to a garden store & ask them for advice on what to plant?
I would love to grow some tomatoes & I would have them planted already in AZ. I don't know what to plant when. Will it still freeze here? Will it hurt plants that I plant now? Trying to read up on gardening in the PNW, but thought I would seek out advice from those of you who have lived here awhile.
Has anyone been to the Snohomish nursery? I think that's what it's called, just off of Hwy 2 & 88th St.? It looks like a fairly big place, was thinking of popping in there.

Thank You! for all of your suggestions. It's hard starting a new life in a new area & even harder when the area is such a drastic change. Sad
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Feb 24, 2015 11:43 AM CST
Way too early for tomatoes or other warm weather crops unless you plan to start them inside. I don't plant mine outside until first of June, although I'm likely about a week or two behind you in Snohomish. I'm still getting morning frost and will likely continue to do so for another month or two.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Feb 24, 2015 12:40 PM CST
I used to use grit instead of coarse Perlite for opening up a dense or fine-grained seedling mix. Now I use screened bark and relatively little peat.

>> So, would you suggest I go to a garden store & ask them for advice on what to plant?

That really depends on the people at the store! They might just give you things they want to sell. I would never ask "does this grow well here", because they know that a "no" answer means No Sale. But if you have several things in mind, and they expect that you are going to buy something, they might steer you towards things that have a better chance.

If people here recommended a place, you should get good advice there.

I would pick things I like, then ask around to see if it does well here.

Also, window-shopping neighbors' gardens can tell you what grows well and what looks good to your eye. What better way to introduce yourself to a new neighbor than to say "I really like the looks of those -what are they? Do they need pampering?" That may also tell you how experienced a gardener they are. If a plant grows well in a yard where no one spends any time pampering it, it MUST be easy to grow.

My guess about getting moss out of the lawn is that killing moss may not be very easy (don't they sell some copper salt for that? Yuck!) Like horsetails, the best way to discourage moss is to gradually make the soil favorable to something else. I don't think moss can compete with grass if the soil is fair, and drains well, and there is sun, not shade.

But if you have deep shade and non-draining soil or conditions that discourage grass, maybe you'd be better off encouraging some ATTRACTIVE mosses and let the grass die off.

>> I would love to grow some tomatoes & I would have them planted already in AZ. I don't know what to plant when.


>> Will it still freeze here?

Where I am, closer to the coast, my "average last frost date" is or used to be April 8. This winter was very warm, so you might think we're already past the last frost. I had a very light frost last night. Inland, I would expect more temperature extremes, hence yes, I would EXPECT some more light frosts. That would not bother snow peas or many cool weather crops. Sometimes you can direct-sow seeds and they won't sprout until the weather is right for them ... or they will rot in the wet cold soil, or sprout and then freeze.

I'm still figuring that out, mainly by planting out later than is ideal, which goes well with my procrastination. I think every crop, flower and shrub is different.

We have a micro-badge for garden procrastinators!




Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Feb 24, 2015 1:23 PM CST
jrckellogg said:...
I would love to grow some tomatoes & I would have them planted already in AZ. I don't know what to plant when. Will it still freeze here? Will it hurt plants that I plant now?


If your ZIP code is 98290, the ATP garden planning calendar suggests:
"On average, your frost-free growing season starts Apr 25 and ends Oct 13, totaling 171 days."
http://garden.org/apps/calendar/?q=98290

For some reason, when I type in "Dutch Hill WA", the garden Calemndar gives me Port Angles on the tip of the Olympic peninsula!

Also: "Do you want to grow tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants? Start these indoors around February 13. Then, around April 19 you should start watching the weather forecast and, as soon as no frost is forecast, go ahead and transplant those into the ground."

I hope your inland summer is warmer than my coastal summer! I always have cool nights (like low 60 & high 50s, maybe). Mid-season and late-season tomatoes can be tough to ripen fully before you get cold nights. Cherry tomatoes are a safer bet. There are many early tomatoes, and cool-climate tomatoes. *

I think when to set them out depends on how hard you're pushing their "days-to-maturity". I think those published numbers for DTM assume plenty of warmth.

* early tomatoes, and cool-climate tomatoes.

I found that Sungold cherry tomatoes ripened in plenty of time and stayed sweet longest into cool weather. Stupice ripened early, then lost all its sweetness after a few cold nights.

Here's my "short list" of varieties to try next:

Glacier
Oregon Spring
Beaverlodge
Matina
Bloody Butcher
Sophie's Choice
Northern Delight
Manitoba
Ildi
Sub Arctic Cherry
Sub Arctic Plenty
Azoychka
Morden Yellow


Here's my most complete list of early tomato varieties, sorted according to seed catalog descriptions:

ULTRA-EARLY & COLD-TOLERANT:

Glacier - ultra-early, cold-tolerant, SEMI-DET
Stupice - ultra-early, cold-tolerant, compact DET (I didn't like Stupice)


EXTRA-EARLY & COLD-TOLERANT:

Oregon Spring - extra-early, very cold-tolerant, "plant 4 wks before last frost & protect only when there's frost"
Manitoba - extra-early, cold-tolerant, 3'-4' DET, "Canadian for colder climates"
Matina - extra-early, INDET, "dependable even in cold/wet summers"
Sub-Artic Plenty - extra-early, "Canadian", DET Allegedly developed in the 1940's by the U.S. Military to provide fresh tomatoes to their troops in Greenland.

Northern Delight - ultra-early, "for the Far North", 2' DET
Beaverlodge series - ultra-early, compact DET, containers
Sophie's Choice: Heirloom from Edmonton, Canada, introduced by Carolyn Male in 1997.
Extra early, flavorful. 2' DET vines suited to containers. 6-12 ounce globes red-orange outside and deep red flesh.
Strong disease resistance. Not heat-tolerant or drought-tolerant. Best production in cooler climates.


EXTRA-EARLY:

Early Cascade - (hybrid but seems pretty true) - early, short-summer, PNW, "reliable: sets fruit in any climate"
Early Wonder - extra-early, 3'-4' SEMI-DET, med red globe
Early Wonder - extra-early, SEMI-INDET
Siletz - extra-early, reliable, DET,
Sungold F1 - extra-early, 4'-8' INDET, containers, sweet orange cherry with 'tropical' flavor
Ildi - extra-early, yellow grape pear, 8'-10' INDET
Gold Nugget - extra-early, 2-3' DET, bland yellow cherry


EARLY:

Yellow Plum - early, productive even in cold, 4'-6' INDET, yellow cherry
Bloody Butcher - early, cool climate, 4'-6'
Maskabec - early, 18"-36" DET, 4-6 oz. red globe
Golden Rave (hybrid) - early, gold Roma plum6'-8' INDET
Husky Cherry Red - early, semi-DET or dwarf INDET
Sub Artic Cherry - early, DET, pink, "developed in Alberta for short seasons"
Early Cascade - early, short summer, red-orange

LESS EARLY:

Marmande - semi-early, cool climate, med-large red beefsteak type, full flavor
Santa Cherry / Santa Sweets - mid-season, tolerates cool summers, 4'-8' INDET
Morden Yellow - mid-late, Canadian for colder climates, 2'-3' DET, med yellow globe
Early Girl (hybrid) - semi-early, med red globe, flavorful
Name: Julie
Snohomish, Washington (Zone 8b)
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jrckellogg
Feb 24, 2015 10:22 PM CST
Wow Rick! You are full of knowledge!! Yes, my zip code is 98290. It is Snohomish, but we are outside the city limits. I don't really know the different areas yet, but my neighbor said our "area" of Snohomish is called Dutch Hill. Even though our actual neighborhood is a different name. I live not far from 88th St / Hwy 2, up a big hill. The nearby elementary school is also called Dutch Hill.
We have had frost the last couple of mornings here. My growing season would have already started in AZ, so I feel like I'm behind the ball. Glad to know that I'm not. I like homegrown tomatoes all summer, will have to figure out how to make that happen. Also where to plant them without the deer getting them? I will check out the varieties you mentioned. Thanks for the recommendations. I guess I will shoot for an April planting then. Smiling
The grass and the moss... Our lawn in the back is in the sun and shade. Part of it is sloped. Our front is in full sun. I think it is starting to come back in and hopefully will crowd out the moss. Our neighbors have some as well, but ours is by far worse. I think our yard had been neglected for a bit before we moved here.
Have a lot more cleaning up to do before I can get to planting anyway. Keep the sunny weather coming so I can get it done. Thank You!
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Feb 25, 2015 12:03 PM CST
My theory is that grass will out-compete moss IF it has enough sun, AND the soil has enough organic matter AND is at all well-drained.

Do you have a free source of organic material for compost or mulching? If the whole lawn and all beds need compost, make-your-own would be much cheaper than buy trucks-full.

Maybe just sheet-compost leaves on top of your raised beds for now. That would smother weeds AND feed the soil.

I hope you love living in this area! I enjoy seeing all the fields and nurseries from the road when I drive to Snohomish (the town) to get to Steubers. I think it is something like "Seattle Hill Road" that has a great view of the valley.

We almost bought a house there, up on the hill, but it was old and broken down AND too expensive for us.


Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Feb 25, 2015 12:18 PM CST
My parents in British Columbia used to 'kill' the moss every spring by just fertilizing the lawn. As you say, Rick, the grass will out-compete moss everywhere except in deep shade. (You shouldn't be trying to grow grass there anyway.)

If you want some 'organic' fert high in nitrogen, maybe look for a source of composted manure? It will also add amendments to the soil while it gives the grass a boost.

A visit to your nearest botanical garden will give you lots of ideas for different plants for your garden areas, too. Just don't forget "the right plant, in the right place" will work best, so something growing in moist shade at the botanical garden won't grow in more sun at your house. It might help you to make a map of your yard, and note down the light/shade conditions and soil details of each area, then if you visit a garden, note down plants suited for those different areas.

Don't forget also, the sun will be a lot higher (different angle) in June at the height of the growing season than it is now.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
Bonehead
Feb 25, 2015 12:27 PM CST
Elaine, good advice re the sun angle -- the north side of my house is in deep shade all winter, but for a short time in the summer is in full afternoon sun!
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.

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