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Spring bulbs and bare-root perennials have begun arriving! Our bulb buyers bring in an extensive selection of the most beautiful well-known and soon to be new favorites for your garden and containers. Imagine summer and fall in your garden full of fragrant lilies, enormous dahlias, regal gladiolus, hummingbird-attracting crocosmia, and the dramatic prehistoric foliage of elephant ears… the list goes on…
Old House Dahlias are grown locally by Mark Harvey, who started growing several varieties of this resilient flower in his backyard in Portland in 2003. Today, he offers more than 175 varieties of dahlias! At Portland Nursery, we support local growers like Old House Dahlias by carrying a bountiful selection of their beautiful and unique varieties. We are fortunate to have Mark Harvey teaching a Dahlia growing workshop on Sunday April 7th at the 9000 SE Division location. The class is free and advanced registration is required.
Please come in today to explore the myriad of spring-planted bulbs and they will enhance your garden for years to come.
Begin planting bulbs in April through May when the danger of frost has passed. Wait to plant until your soil is dried out from heavy rains. Bulbs require good drainage, so prepare your planting area by amending it with compost and pumice.
Each type of bulb has a different planting depth; in general it’s approximately three times the diameter of the bulb. Prepare a planting hole a few inches deeper than the recommended planting depth. Mix compost, pumice and an organic fertilizer high in phosphorus such as bone meal or rock phosphate into the bottom of the hole, then add enough soil to bring the hole to the proper planting depth. Place the bulbs root side down, fill in the planting hole and water thoroughly.
Check out this handy bulb-planting chart; keep it on hand:
The 2013 seed lines are here! For specific seed line availability at either location please call us or stop in. This is an exciting time of year for planning your garden. We are delighted to answer all your seed starting questions, so please stop by either location or give us a call.
For helpful hints planning your seed starting and garden refer to our Vegetable Planting Calendar. You can also find a wealth of information about growing food and individual crop care on our Vegetable page. Available at our stores is another invaluable and economical resource for seed starting and gardening, The Maritime Northwest Garden Guide, published by the Seattle Tilth.
We carry a wide range of seed starting supplies. Be sure to check out our sterile seed starting mixes, fiber pellets, coir pots, rockwool cubes, earth plugs, trays, domes, seedling heat mats, grow lights, plant markers, soil thermometers, garden inoculant, floating row covers, and all-in-one seed starting kits (and seed starting kits make a great gift for the special gardener in your life, too).
We carry a large selection of bulk cover crop seed for spring & summer planting. Spring and summer cover crops are planted after the danger of hard frost has passed. (The average last frost date in Portland is April 15) A cover crop is a quick growing crop which is planted primarily to keep the soil covered for a short period of time, then plowed under as “green manure” or removed and composted. Large amounts of organic matter are added to the soil when the lush growth of green, mature crops is turned under.
Organic matter improves soil texture as humus and stabilizes moisture content. The plant nutrients in these crops are returned to the soil, thus becoming a storehouse for nutrients. Legume plants are hosts to nitrogen-fixing bacteria which extract nitrogen from the air and convert it into a form that can be used by plants. When used as a cover crop, legumes return the nitrogen to the soil.
Some cover crops, like oilseed radish and fava bean are deeply rooted. Their taproot is excellent at breaking apart clay, hard soils and providing much needed airspace. Cover crops planted in your garden will also serve as “living mulch” preventing erosion, nutrient loss from leaching and inhibiting weed growth. For more information on cover crops refer to our Cover Crops Handout.
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5050 SE Stark, Portland, OR
9000 SE Division, Portland, OR
Indoors: In March you can continue starting seeds indoors for heat-loving summer vegetable crops like tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers and eggplant. In Portland direct seeding these crops into the garden is not recommended due to our cool and short maritime northwest summers.
In early March you can begin indoor seed starting of lettuce and some Brassica family members such as: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and kohlrabi.
Outdoors: Some cool season edible crops can be direct seeded in the garden before the average last frost date in Portland (April 15). In March you can direct sow seeds for these crops: arugula, Asian greens, cilantro, green onions, mustard greens, parsley, peas, radish, spinach and Swiss chard.
March and April are ideal months for direct seeding salad greens that prefer cool weather, such as cress, dandelion greens, endive, mesclun mix, radicchio, and sorrel. Adding a floating row cover over your garden seed bed will assist with germination at this time of year.
While you are at Portland Nursery, purchase netting, trellising, and/or stakes for your climbing peas. This is also the time to direct seed ornamental sweet peas for wildly fragrant spring flowers in your garden.