The location and condition of my new plot – part 1

When you start gardening, you can start with the obvious, the climate. Plants you can grow are the traditional ones you were taught to grow, or you can look around the world and see what other plants you might want to grow, which depend on the overall climate or the microclimate you can create.

The climate where I live now is an oceanic climate (or maritime climate) based on the Köppen−Geiger Climate Classification. In details, it is a cfb climate zone: c-temperate, f-fully humid, b-warm summers.

Temperate climates are defined as having an average temperature above 0 °C (26.6 F) in their coldest month but below 18 °C (64.4 F). The second letter indicates the precipitation pattern, f means significant precipitation in all seasons. The third letter indicates the degree of summer heat, b indicates warmest month averaging below 22 °C.

Within this climate there are different hardiness zones, depending on exact location. If your garden is sheltered from the wind and is on a sunny side, then you might be able to grow a plant suitable a zone higher on the scale.

The area I live has a hardiness zone 8. However the site is exposed to the wind, so I have to take into consideration the effect of the wind chill factor on the plants.

 

The soil texture seems to be ‘loamy sand’ where I took the sample from.

 

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Old jar test

 

However, on the other side of the plot, there is a bit of a water logging problem which would indicate clay soil or very high water table/eroded topsoil. From the picture, it is quite visible how many pebbles we have which is a bit of a problem for root vegetables.

 

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Water logging and pebbles

 

 

I found a few web references on soil structure:

The blog ‘the growing season’ has two informative videos on how to do the jar test and an alternative soil testing. (https://thegrowingseason.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/soils-management-the-old-jar-test/)

The ‘Plant & Soil Sciences eLibraryPRO‘ is an educational portal and has a lot of articles on horticulture, crop technology, soil and weed science and so on. (http://croptechnology.unl.edu/pages/informationmodule.php?idinformationmodule=1130447123&topicorder=2&maxto=13&minto=1)

The Master Gardener Foundation of Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties website has a clear picture of the soil structure triangle, as the clay-silt-sand triangle, and lots of gardening related information and courses. (http://pnwmg.org/garden-info/soils/)

References to climate:

 

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New plot

I decided to rent a plot again on an allotment. There is a site close by and there were a few plots available. Some of them haven’t been cultivated for years it seems. This one had some work done on it, has a shed, a patio area, some sort of raised beds at the front and it is covered on the main vegetable area with black plastic sheets. I paid the rent in January and then waited for the winter to pass…

 

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