Coastal Southern Oregon Gardening Challenges

Coastal Southern Oregon Gardening Challenges

We've been house-sitting in Coos Bay, Oregon, since September. Our hosts kindly gave us free rein over their small vegetable patch while they were gone, and they planned to be gone for quite a while. I'd had a bit of experience growing in various climates over the last few years, and I knew gardening would be a challenge here on the southern Oregon coast, but I had no idea how much of a challenge it would be!

After enjoying the last of our hosts' tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers last fall, we cleared out their small plot and pots. Enthusiastically and optimistically, I bought Adaptive Seeds, winter lettuce, kale, spinach, and carrot seeds—all suggested for extreme cold and snow conditions. (Snow conditions on the coast—ha, ha, ha! Turned out that Mother Nature would have the last laugh there.)

I seeded the carrots in the raised bed, and started the rest of the veggies indoors in pots, then moved them to the lightweight plastic greenhouse our hosts had purchased as a test greenhouse.

Things were looking good. Finally, I moved them to the raised bed, and then actual winter hit. Honestly, I think we got a few leaves of lettuce, and we're just now enjoying the carrots, but otherwise, my efforts were a flop.

In January, I picked up various veggie seeds from our local seed community, and (finally) got them into the dirt in mid-February. The eight tomato starts were doing really well until I put them out on the porch on a warm day a few weeks ago, hoping for a dose of vitamin D, only to look out the window an hour later to see a windstorm in progress. Needless to say, the poor tomato plants keeled over. I've revived two (maybe), but the rest are compost. The difference between the start I purchased a few weeks ago from the local grange and the seeds I started almost ten weeks ago is almost comical!

One of the zucchini seeds from the seed community might survive, and there are a few bell pepper sprouts that might survive, and the parsley is growing like a weed. But otherwise... sigh. That greenhouse would've been great with all these plants right now, but it was demolished in a winter storm back in January.

Despite the challenges, there are a few bright spots to the garden this spring. The fava beans from the seed community are thriving! (At least I think they are... they are for this time of year, right?) Time to look up some recipes.

And the borage I seeded last fall is thriving. too. Tonight we enjoyed some in our salad.


So, southern coastal gardeners, what tips do you have for me—other than to move inland?!

Read 5739 times Last modified on Monday, 24 April 2017 05:47
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About Author


Jen and her partner recently spent three years traveling the world, volunteering on organic farms for a good portion of that time. Wanderlust fulfilled (for now, anyway), the couple currently resides in Southern Oregon where Jen continues to study sustainable farming practices in prep for their future farm. Follow their ongoing journey at