Seeds, Starts, Sunshine: Your Rogue Valley Spring Garden Guide
Some would consider it a crime to not grow something in the ideal conditions we have here in the Rogue Valley. Whether it be a single tomato plant in one of those hanging-upside-down-pots on an apartment patio or a 10-acre Master Gardener plot with a water feature, just consider it your duty to get outside and get dirty. For food or flowers, a certain sustaining pride comes from coaxing life out of a tiny seed. But where to start? There are plenty of local plant gurus in the Valley who have been around the plot a few times, and they will share their green thumb wisdom with those of us who, like tiny seedlings ourselves, need a little outside help. One is Buffy, at the Central Point Grange Coop.
Rogue Valley Messenger: What advice would you give to a first-time backyard gardener?
B: I would tell them to make sure you have good soil to start with. I recommend a good, organic fertilizer for veggies. Be sure you have a watering schedule so they don’t dry out, whether in the ground or in pots.
RVM: What plants would you suggest for a first-timer?
B: I would suggest veggies, but also incorporate flowers for the pretty. Like marigolds or another annual to make it look nice. Or different perennials, if you like.
RVM: What do you think will be the most popular veggies to grow this season?
B: We are just ending the cool season veggies, like cabbage and cauliflower. Now is the time to plant onions and potatoes, and tomatoes, cucumbers and squash in the next week or so.
RVM: How about flowers?
B: Petunias are our most popular, and we have so many different varieties of the annuals. Snapdragons and marigolds also. For shade, try coleus, fuchsias and geraniums.
In addition to local nurseries, the Growers’ Markets offer a vast array of locally grown starts this time of year: in Ashland on Tuesdays and Saturdays, Medford Thursdays and Saturdays and Grants Pass on Saturdays.
If a large event with plants and supplies is what you need to get excited, the Spring Garden Fair will take place on April 23 and 24 at the OSU Extension Office Site and the Jackson County Master Gardeners Fair will be April 30 and May 1 at the Jackson County Expo. Boasting a wide array of vegetables and perennial and annual flowers, along with trees and herbs, workshops and demonstrations are scheduled on all days. (jocomastergardeners.com) (facebook.com/springgardenfairjacksoncounty)
Or, if you simply want to get your hands dirty and help plants grow without tearing out your lawn, ACCESS emergency food relief pantries has a plot you can volunteer to work in, in exchange for produce, if you wish. For more information, check out accesshelps.org.