South Sound Food Gardener’s Calendar

Please Click the link at the bottom of the page to view the full planting guide.


We South Sounders are fortunate, indeed.  Throughout the Maritime Northwest Region, stretching from Northern California to Southern British Columbia and west of the Cascade Mountains, it is possible to grow a food garden year round. To accomplish this, sowings are made in stages corresponding to seasonal windows for different crops or classes of crops. There is no one set time that the entire garden is put in at once for the whole year.

Food gardening consists principally of vegetables, fruits and herbs, which are the focus of this gardener’s calendar and event schedule, but with emphasis on vegetables.  Our bias is using organic and earth-friendly methods. There are approximately 50 kinds of vegetable crops one can choose for growing in South Puget Sound. Some grow best during cool periods of spring and fall or even over winter.  Others are limited to single sowings or plantings during the fairly brief period of hot summer weather and can not handle the slightest freeze.  Certain ones, such as tomatoes and peppers, need to be started early indoors or purchased about May as transplants.

Trying to keep all these crops and their appropriate sowing dates or periods in your head, along with other cultural duties, can get pretty cumbersome and it’s easy to forget or overlook some target date or essential task.  That’s what this calendar, with planting schedules and tips, is designed to overcome. A special feature of this regional calendar is the two convenient planting charts on the inside of the front and back covers.  We put all the region-specific essentials in one convenient place.  Additionally, blank monthly calendar pages are provided for your planning and planting notes or records.   

In the South Puget Sound sub-region, planting times can vary considerably in relation to the warmer Sound waters, lakes, and lowlands versus colder foothills and mountains that are generally set well back from the Sound. The difference in same climate conditions can range more than a month from sea level to mountain top. Strangely, the Seattle area, north of us, has a milder and earlier climate.  Because of our topography the area just south of the Olympia airport can be unusually cold and late in spring. To simplify things, our planting schedule is geared to the lowlands, and so, should be adjusted to an earlier date if your garden is near the Sound, or to a later date if it is in the hills.

In general, our winters are mild and our summers relatively cool and dry. Most of our rainfall (averaging about 50 inches a year in the Olympia area) falls in the 6-month period from October to March and can present a challenge for getting into the garden in early spring when it is not too wet to work the soil.  Jump on any dry periods that come along.  In summer a reliable source of close-by irrigating water will be necessary, particularly for intensively planted raised beds.  Summer mulching can help with water retention and moderation of soil temperature swings.  Knowing these basics and having the details presented in this gardener’s calendar, you are equipped to go forth and multiply your veggies, fruits and herbs.

Good growing, and good eating!

© 2014 Gary L. Kline

All Rights Reserved

Black Lake Organic Garden Store

4711 Black Lake Blvd. SW
Olympia, WA. 98512

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