Vegetable Gardening!



Vegetable gardening in the Northwest is always an adventure. Our ever-changing weather patterns have sent the urban farmer back to the drawing board, looking to utilize that unpredictability to our benefit.

Leading the way is the use of raised beds, containers and straw bales which help to warm the soil faster and allow earlier planting of seeds and starts.

In addition, raised beds, etc. give you greater control of growing conditions such as soils, fertilizer application and pest management.

There are literally hundreds of books, articles and publications that rely on specially blended soils, homemade fertilizers, PH adjusting amendments and more.

Our intent is to help you understand the basics, so you can then experiment and add your own personal touch.

There is no absolute right or wrong in gardening.  What works for you and produces the best results is the right choice.



Soil is a combination of ground rocks, decomposed organic plant material, sand and clay.  It also harbors trace amounts of minerals, insects, beneficial microbes, bacteria, fungal growth, water and air.

The Grange offers the following soils and amendments to compliment your particular type of garden.


Potting Soil – A lightweight blend containing a good amount of peat moss and perlite.  A great choice of indoor houseplants and any native plants that require an acid soil.


Planting Mix – Combination of topsoil, compost and PH adjusters. Great as an all purpose soil for garden beds and outdoor containers. Can be used for direct planting.


Planting Compost – Similar to the planting mix but heavier on the compost. Can be planted directly.  Best for planting fruit trees or larger broadleaf and coniferous trees.


Raised Bed Mix – Good, lighter weight “ready-to-use” soil for the raised bed or container,


Soil Building Compost – This is a good “all purpose” compost used for supplementing garden beds, top dressing flower beds and as a mulch to cover new grass seed.


Harvest Supreme – Mostly used to amend garden beds. This is a very rich compost that should be mixed in with existing soil.  It contains 15% chicken manure making it the only additive you will need for refreshing your garden beds.


For those folks who prefer the old standbys, we still carry chicken and steer manure as well as wormgold compost.



N-P-K – This is the rating given to fertilizers that indicates the percentages of active ingredients.  The numbers differ in regards to what is being fertilized.


N – Nitrogen.  This is for greening.  Higher nitrogen is used for lawns, conifers and other “non-flowering” plants. Blood meal, fish meal, bat guano and ammonium sulfate are good sources for nitrogen.


P – Phosphorous. For buds and blooms. Those fertilizers listed for flower production will have a higher P percentage.  Bone meal, fish bone meal, soft rock phosphate and triple super phosphate are good sources of phosphorous.


K – Potash. This aids in root development and general plant health.  Higher levels of potash are good for root crops like potatoes, carrots and beets. Kelp meal, myriad of potash and wood ash are good sources of Potash.


Organic vs synthetic – The most noticeable difference is in the NPK ratings.  Synthetics can be concentrated to reach higher levels.  Lawn food can be as high as 46% nitrogen whereas organic lawn food is usually around 9%.

Synthetics directly feed the plant, organics feed the plant as well as the soil microbes.

Some synthetics are coated for a timed release feeding and will provide food earlier in the season when the soil is cool. Organics tend to last longer but usually activate when the soil is above 50 degrees.


Over-fertilizing with organics is usually just a waste of fertilizer but over doing it with synthetics can burn the plant and lead to shorter root growth and decreasing plant health.


Organic vs Certified Organic – “Organic” means the ingredients come from natural organic materials such as cottonseed meal, bone meal, etc.

“Certified Organic” means there is a paper trail documenting that the ingredients were grown free of GMO’s, synthetic pesticides, and chemicals.


What & When

Veggies are broken down to cool and warm season.

Cool season vegetables are those of which we eat the leaves, flowers and roots, (lettuce, broccoli, carrots, spinach).

Warm season includes those that provide us with seeds, pods and actual fruit, (tomatoes, green beans, squash). The one exception is that peas prefer a cooler season.

Contingent on the weather, cool season can be planted March through May with a secondary planting in August.  Warm season usually starts around late April to mid May or whenever the soil temperature reaches 50 degrees.

Companion Planting Cheat Sheet

Follow this cheat sheet to help your plants thrive with their right companions in your garden bed!









Companions:                                       Enemies:


ONIONS               CABBAGE




Companions:                                       Enemies:

SAGE                BEETS                           TOMATOES

ROSEMARY     CELERY                          PEPPERS





looseleaflettucevarietiesCompanions:                                                 Enemies:

CARROTS                CUCUMBER                     CELERY

RADISHES               BEANS                              PARSLEY


BEETS                      CABBAGE FAMILY


Onion-and-garlic-varietiesCompanions:                                                     Enemies:

CARROTS                   TOMATOES                      LEEKS      PEAS

RADISHES                   LETTUCE                         BEANS

STRAWBERRIES        CABBAGE                        PARSLEY 



Companions:                                     Enemies:

LAVENDER         BEANS                    ONIONS

CARROTS          CORN                       GARLIC



*Grows well with most veggies & herbs.



Companions:                                            Enemies:

TOMATOES          CARROTS                     BEANS

GERANIUM          ONIONS                         KALE

BASIL                   EGGPLANTS                 CABBAGE FAMILY



Companions:                                                   Enemies:

BEANS                         EGGPLANTS               PUMPKINS       MELONS

CABBAGE FAMILY      PEAS                           CUCUMBERS    TOMATOES

CORN                                                                SQUASH  


images Companions:                                     






Companions:                                            Enemies:

BASIL                 CARROTS                        POTATOES

OREGANO         CELERY                           FENNEL

PARSLEY           GERANIUM                      KOHLRABI

CHIVES              ASPARAGUS                   CABBAGE FAMILY













Why Choose Payback Organic Feeds

If you have ever considered feeding organic feeds to your poultry or livestock, keep reading!

The attraction to consuming animal meats and products that are raised locally, sustainably and with as little chemicals as possible is a growing interest in the Pacific Northwest. Raising poultry for eggs or meat, hogs, rabbits, or cattle for your own consumption is a noble and rewarding task. For those interested in producing organic products to sell at local farmer’s markets or other distribution, your task requires even more diligence in raising the animals in a way that reflects local and national organic regulations. For farms large or small, this blog will give you a short introduction to the benefits of organic livestock production.


First of all, you have many certified organic feed options from Payback Organic Feeds. (For a full list of organic feed options, visit Payback Feeds is proud to offer a wide range of organic feeds to better the health of your family, community, environment and the animal’s you keep. To manufacture certified organic feeds, the team at Payback must adhere to a strict list of regulations provided by USDA Organics and audited by Oregon Tilth. Ingredients that uphold the high expectations of USDA Organic are grown, handled and stored separately from non organic ingredients. They are mixed into formulas that optimize both the health and production of the animal.

Payback Organic Feeds contain ONLY ingredients that do not contain any of the following:
1. NO Pesticides
2. NO Herbicides
3. NO GMO Ingredients
4. NO Synthetic Fertilizers
5. NO Artificial Ingredients

What does organic feeds contain? Each bag of certified organic feed contains ingredients that originate organic_bagimagesfrom crops grown in environmentally friendly ways. For example, farmers producing organic crops can only plant seeds of Non-GMO varieties. According to the “Organics Center”, feeding organic certified feeds is your animal’s best protection against GMO crop ingredients. The plants are grown without the use of pesticides and herbicides which limits the amount of these chemicals that humans and animals are exposed to when consuming them. In addition, the ingredients in organic feeds that give your animal’s energy to produce goods are also balanced with vitamins and minerals that are allowed in organic feeds.

Payback Organic Feeds are the local authority in safe, organic products for your family and your community. On top of the strict organic regulation, you can be assured that Payback Feeds is manufactured locally in the Willamette Valley and formulated for the PNW region. Did you know that you are also buying from a cooperative? Payback Feeds are owned by CHS, Inc, the nations’ most successful cooperative. When you buy from a cooperative, you are supporting the efforts of farmers and ranchers that benefit directly from being coop members.

To learn more about their feeds, head over to:

6 Reasons Why You Should Start Gardening NOW



Gardening is…

  • Good exercise

Gardening for 45 minutes can burn as many calories when you do 30 minutes of aerobics.  Pulling weeds and digging holes puts your lower and upper body muscles to work while also toning them.

  • A stress reliever

Horticulture therapy has reign popularity recently after people have discovered the benefits from gardening. Horticulture therapist prescribes people to garden to help them sleep better, boost mood levels and reduce anxiety

  • A money saver

Buying organic produce can be a hefty cost and the price for it isn’t decreasing anytime soon. Growing your own vegetable garden can help you cut the cost of your grocery bill.

  • Helping our planet stay green

Prevents soil erosion, protects water quality, saves energy and beautifies your community are a few positives that gardening provides for our planet.

  • Provides delicious and tastier food 

Homegrown produce is usually tastier than to store brought. Growing your own organic vegetables will be loaded with vitamins and nutrients than vegetables that are treated with synthetic pesticides.

  • Good for children 

There are many lessons being taught to while a child gardens. The child will learn about the importance of patience, eating healthy and the responsibility of taking care of another living thing.