Cool season vegetables are best suited for the climate in Western Washington. The weather doesn’t get hot until late in the summer, making it difficult to grow heat-loving plants like melons and peppers. Fortunately, there are plenty of vegetables that will grow well in the cool, wet Western Washington spring and summer.
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Lettuce is a cool season crop and one of the easiest to grow. High temperatures and too much sunlight can make lettuce taste bitter. Succession planting every three weeks will give you fresh lettuce throughout the season. Head lettuce can only be harvested once per planting, but leaf lettuce can be harvested multiple times for up to two months–just cut the leaves two inches above the soil and it will grow back.
Potatoes thrive in Western Washington’s cool growing season. They can easily be grown in small garden areas using old tires. Lay a tire flat and fill it with loose, sandy soil. Plant your starter potato. As it grows, cover it with more soil, stacking additional tires as needed. When you’re ready to harvest, just pull off the tires and you’ll have a pile of potatoes. New potatoes can also be harvested earlier in the season, leaving other potatoes to grow to maturity. Just put your hand down in the dirt and feel for the size you want, then pull them up gently.
Carrots can also be grown successfully in Western Washington. As with lettuce, succession planting every three weeks is ideal if you want fresh carrots throughout the season. Carrots like loose soil that is free of rocks and clumps. Baby carrots can be harvested early in the season. In addition to the standard orange, carrots can be purple, magenta, white, and yellow.
There are many varieties of cool-weather-loving beans. You can choose beans that grow on bushes low to the ground or beans that climb and trail and need a fence, trellis or cage for support.Beans can reach maturity in as early as 60 days, depending on variety.
Broccoli is a hardy vegetable that thrives in cool weather and can even withstand frosts and freezes. Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family. It can be planted in the spring before the final frost. Broccoli must be harvested before the flower starts to unfold, otherwise it will be bitter.