Region Description: Pacific Northwest

Zone Map
USDA Hardiness Zones
7 to 9
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AHS Heat Zones
2 to 5
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Sunset Zones
1,3,4,5,6,7,15,17
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Major Cities

Eureka CA, Medford OR, Olympia WA, Portland OR, Salem OR, Seattle WA, Tacoma WA, Ukiah CA, Vancouver BC, Victoria BC

The Region

The Pacific Northwest region begins in the north in Vancouver and Victoria B.C., and traveling south through western Washington and Oregon with the Pacific Ocean as the western most boundary and the Cascade Mountain Range as the eastern most boundary. The area stretches into northern California, following the coast range south to Ukiah.

The Climate

The two major influences of the climate in the Pacific Northwest are the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains. Moist air flow off the Pacific and drops on this region as it contacts the mountains creating an area that receives on average 40 to 90 inches of rainfall a year. The most rain occurs along the coast. The coastal areas rarely receive snowfall, while the closer to the mountains you are, the more likely snow will accumulate. High wind storms can occur, but are generally more of a bother to the gardener than to the garden. Usually the winds are moist and don't desicate plants. If snow falls, it will usually insulate plants from a hard freeze.

The Growing Season

It isn't necessary to have webbed feet to garden successfully in the Pacific Northwest, but it does help to be a weather watcher. We deal with a cool growing season, moss grows everywhere, and slugs are the number one enemy in the garden. The first frost of the growing season arrives about mid-November; the last about mid-April, giving us at least 200 days of gardening weather. Coastal areas of Oregon and California may escape a frost some winters. Because of the cool, humid weather trees and shrubs thrive, most notably rhododendrons and redwoods. Likewise any cool season annual flowers and vegetables grow well in this climate. Warm season crops, depending on the summer weather and your location in the region, may need season extending techniques such as growing them in black plastic to get a sizable harvest.

View this week's Regional Report for
Pacific Northwest »


Published by the National Gardening Association
www.garden.org, www.kidsgardening.com

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