As a substitute for in-person programming, we’re offering a series of posts on starting a vegetable garden. This science-based information comes from the Seed to Supper program, developed by the Oregon Food Bank. During these difficult times, the Oregon Food Bank welcomes your donations.
OSU is also offering its vegetable gardening class online.
Extra care during the first few weeks of a newly planted garden pays off big later in the season.
For the first few days after transplanting, protect young plants from wind and sun. You can use newspaper or cardboard to shield the south side of transplants, where the sun is strongest. You can use plastic bottles with the bottoms cut off to protect tender young plants from the cold and from bird and insect damage.
You can also install row covers over new transplants and young plants grown from seed. Row covers keep out birds, cats, and insects, but they’re permeable, so sun and water can get through. Drape row cloth over low tunnels or lay it directly on the soil, loosely tucked in with dirt or rocks so that plants have room to grow. Check underneath your row cover occasionally in case pests were trapped inside. Slugs and snails especially like protected spaces.
Remove or loosen to increase airflow if temperatures underneath get too hot. When fruit-bearing plants like squash begin to flower, remove row covers so pollinating insects can reach the blossoms.
Deer and elk will eat most vegetables. If they frequent your yard, well-secured row covers may help. As your plants mature, you’ll need some sort of fencing to discourage these garden visitors. You can fashion low-cost fencing out of poles and chicken wire.
While hungry deer will eat even plants that are “deer-resistant”, here’s a PDF showing which vegetables are most and least appealing to deer.