Gardening in the Pacific Northwest is quite different from gardening in Vermont. I am looking forward to getting a garden established and enjoying a much longer growing season than I did in Vermont.
In Vermont we were in the hardiness zone 4a while here in the Pacific Northwest, outside Tacoma we are in hardiness zone 8b. What does that mean? The USDA divides North America into eleven separate planting zones based on the dates you can expect your first frost and your last frost. It is important to know what zone you are in so you can know what plants will do well in your region. It is also helpful when planning your vegetable garden.
Our last frost date in Vermont was in May (21-31) and the first frost in September (11-20). I would usually plant my garden Memorial Day weekend and even then I had to keep an eye on the weather because we could often get a frost in June. Seeds would be started the end of February-March so the seedlings would be ready to go in the garden in early June. It was quite a short and challenging growing season.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, outside Tacoma we are in zone 8b. The first frost date isn’t until early November (1-10) and the last date of a frost is in April (1-10). I’m going to have a considerable longer growing season by a month on either end. Our average frost-free growing season is from April 15 to October 24thor 192 days!
What a difference that will be having such a longer growing season. In Vermont right now the ground is frozen solid and covered with snow. I would be getting ready to start my seeds indoors but probably not for a few more weeks. Spring would still seem so far away.
Recently we went for a walk at the Bloedel Reserve. I was so encouraged by the many signs of spring. I was so surprised to see Cyclamen growing wild in the woods and in full bloom! There are numerous seeds I could be starting right now if I was going to be starting seeds this year. The days are still short but I could be starting seeds such as onions and leeks. Believe it or not I could even direct sow seeds outdoors; seeds such as broad beans and sweet peas.
I am really looking forward to establishing a garden here in the Pacific Northwest. I know there will be challenges just as there were when gardening in Vermont, but they will be different. Pretty sure the slugs are much large here in the PNW! Having a longer growing season is going to be wonderful and that is what I am really looking forward to.