Springtime in Oregon is a wonderful time of year for agriculture. Right now is the time to prepare the soil, and plant seeds and transplants. There are also a lot of decisions to be made about what to grow, and how and when to grow it. And, it turns out, the growing you’re doing in your own back yard is similar to what farmers are doing all over Oregon.
Right now farmers are checking the soil to see if it’s dry enough to work. If it’s too wet, the heavy tractors will compact the soil, making it hard for plants to grow. In your own garden, check if your soil is dry enough by digging a shovel full of dirt. If the soil does not stick to the shovel, you are good to go.
Farmers are also testing the soil’s nutrients to see what they need to add. If farmers don’t add enough fertilizer, the crops don’t grow as well, but if they add too much, the fertilizer could runoff into water, and waste money. To make sure your home garden soil has the right structure and nutrients for plants, add compost, agricultural lime if you have not already, and possibly some fertilizer. Talk to your local nursery for what your soil may specifically need.
Farmers are already thinking about how they will water crops during the summer months with an irrigation system. When you plant, think ahead about how you will water your plants twice a week the whole season. Whether you use drip irrigation, sprinklers or hand watering, just make sure you have a plan that is easy. Watering is a great job to give to kids. The responsibility of watering is fun for kids and connects them to the ongoing growth of the plants.
There are lots of things that influence whether a farmer direct seeds or transplants crops. For example, planting seeds in a greenhouse and then transplanting larger plants into the field gives the crops an advantage over weeds, but it is more expensive then planting those same seeds directly into the fields. You have lots of choices as well. Seeds you can plant this month include beets, carrots, and radishes. Right now you can transplant lettuce, broccoli and kale. Oregon garden centers and nurseries have some of the highest quality and widest variety of seed and plants to chose from.
Good things happen when you garden with your family. You gain a healthier lifestyle, bond with your kids, and root them to this wonderful place - Oregon. To find a local garden center or nursery check out the Retail Nurseries and Garden Center Guide. To learn more about what you can do in your Garden this spring, visit Oregon State University’s April Garden Calendar.