Winter gardening tips + tasks for Portland, OR

A gardener pulls a plant out of the dirt

Swiss chard will happily grow through a PDX winter. | Photo by @unsplash

Our climate is the cream of the crop when it comes to gardening because it’s mild enough to allow growth all year round. That means there are plenty of tasks to keep a gardener busy even in winter.

🌱 What is growing?

Winter in the Pacific Northwest is the time for cool-season crops to take center stage. Vegetables like beets, kale + Swiss chard are planted in summer and harvested throughout the winter, while some fall-planted crops like carrots and onions will grow slowly through winter and be ready in early spring. Check out these veggie planting calendars for Portland.

Some plants also shine during the colder months — like hellebores, which will bloom in the dead of winter.

If you want to grow something now, try sprouting some microgreens.

🌱 Plan for spring

This is the time of year to collect seeds that you will either start indoors or plant outside as the ground warms up. Your local nursery is a good place to start, or you can order online from places like Territorial Seed Company. Find your growing “zone” + choose seeds accordingly. Native plants are a great way to support the natural ecosystem.

You can also have your soil tested to find out how you’ll need to amend it and which plants will thrive in your space.

🌱 Grow your knowledge

Winter is a good time to get to those projects you didn’t have time for during summer, like building better tomato cages, sharpening your own chainsaw blades, or taking a class. The OSU Extension office has free online guides covering everything from beekeeping to tree pruning.

Whether you already have two very green thumbs or you’re thinking about dipping your toes into the soil for the first time, this winter gardening guide for Portlanders is meant to be helpful, simple + most of all, fun.

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