What to Plant in Spring

Garden Salad

Veggie plants you can start in April and May in Oregon

It’s April, so start your seeds now! Our garden experts know that everyone is itching to get in their gardens this weekend. Some of you are planning containers, and others are hoping to get veggies started. So this is a primer on what to plant in spring.

Anyone can have a robust garden, no matter if you live in Portland or a rural area. You should choose a location that gets eight to ten hours of sunlight a day. Access to water is essential, so make sure to select an area where irrigation options are close. 

Here are some preparation tips on what to plant in spring. Get your garden journal out and take some notes! Some say April is too early, but some crops do ok at 40°F  temperatures. 

Time to prepare containers

Plant some pots: Save on soil! Most container plants don’t need more than 12 inches of soil depth for their roots, so add a few empty bottles then cover with some cardboard to fit the shape of the container. Many of us are eager to get in the garden after we finish some pots for the front stoop. Here are some tips on what to plant in spring. 

What are short-season crops (crops that take less than 60 days)?

spinach growing on the vegetable bed

Short season crops are quick to mature. These are well suited when the goal is to get as much yield as possible. Such as:

  • Spinach
  • Green Onions
  • Lettuce

Some short-season crops are also cool-season crops. 

What are cool-season crops?

Organic Carrots. Carrot Growing Closeup

Soil that is 40°F or cooler may benefit from cool-season crops. Many crops can grow and be exposed to colder temperatures. We are still having 40°F  temperatures in SW Washington and Portland in early April, so choose from some of these:

  • Peas
  • Onion
  • Lettuce
  • Leeks
  • Carrot
  • Beets. 

Suggested Timeline on What to Plant in Spring for April and May

What about timing for April?

According to the Oregon State University April gardening calendar

If you live in the Western valleys, Portland, Roseburg, Medford:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Chard
  • Chives
  • Endive
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Rutabagas
  • Spinach
  • Turnips

They are all fine to plant! 

What about timing for May?

Western Valleys, Portland, Roseburg, Medford:

  • Snap and Lima Beans
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cantaloupes
  • Slicing and Pickling Cucumbers
  • Dill
  • Eggplant
  • Kale
  • Peppers
  • Pumpkins
  • Summer and Winter Squash
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon

Don’t forget about pruning ornamental grasses. Prune them back in April to a height of six to twelve inches.  We hope this helps! Our garden staff can answer any questions! 

Common terms for gardeners: We mention a few terms in this article that we want to make sure everyone is familiar with including cool-season crops and short-season crops. Cool-season crops thrive in cooler temps and short-season crops can grow in less than two months. If you have questions about these please consult with our garden experts or leave a comment!

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