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End of May Planting Update

Good afternoon gardening friends,

The month of May is nearly over. What a lovely month of gardening and visiting botanical gardens!

If you have taken my gardening classes, read my gardening column, newsletter or blog, and followed me on social media you will remember my adamance about waiting to plant your warm season vegetable crops until night temperatures are consistently above 55 degrees. Exposing warm season vegetable crops to night temperatures below 55 degrees risks stunting them and potentially killing them. Typically in Portland we have night temperatures consistently above 55 degrees around mid May to early June.

Well, we are in a quandary because here it is days away until June 1st and we have not yet had night temperatures consistently above 55 degrees in the Portland metro area. Our night temperatures have been hovering around the low 50s with a few dips to 48 degrees. Not ideal temperatures for growing warm season vegetable crops.

I planted my warm season vegetable crops, with the exception of basil, on May 19 without any protection and I have not observed them having any cold damage during the past week. They seem to be growing minimally, but do not look stunted. I do not expect real growth to kick in until warmer temperatures are here.

The 10 day forecast is for night temperatures from 50-55 degrees. I think at this point you would be safe to plant most of your cold season vegetable crops out into the garden, keeping in mind a few tips.

Warm Season Vegetable Crops to Plant Now:

Beans-seeds or starts

Corn-seeds or starts


Cucumbers-seeds or starts



Pumpkins-seeds or starts

Summer Squash-seeds or starts



Winter Squash-seeds or starts

Zucchini-seeds or starts

WAIT until after June 1st to plant Basil and Melons

The most cool temperature sensitive of the warm season crops are basil, cucumbers, and melons. I am waiting until after June 1st to plant my basil. If you plant cucumbers now be prepared to cover them with a frost blanket. You can plant your melons now from starts if you utilize protection such as a frost blanket, cold frame, or low tunnel.

My final gardening classes of the spring 2019 season are in the next two weeks. I hope you will join me on Sunday June 9th for Troubleshooting the Organic Vegetable Garden. This popular class will fill up fast so make sure you register today.

August Harvest of Beans, Squash & Tomatoes

Let me know if you have any questions and happy planting!

Happy Gardening,


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