This content was published: March 21, 2019. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.

Gardening Courses to Get Your Plants Growing and Flourishing

PCC Community Education

PCC gardening students looking at plant in greenhouse

It’s gardening season again in Portland! Join PCC Community Ed for Home & Garden courses to acquire new ideas to beautify your yard, manage or design your perfect garden, care for your vegetation – or learn to produce your own food! All it takes for success is to know some basic facts about how plants grow best and a desire to get outside and “play in the dirt” on a regular basis. Click here to search for Garden, Nature and Yard courses.

Growing Organic Vegetables

Organic foods from backyard gardens are growing in popularity. People like that they don’t contain mysterious – and potentially dangerous – man-made substances. This form of gardening is also better for the environment. Growing organically lets you tap into two of today’s common concerns: health and sustainability.

Many techniques for growing organic vegetables are similar to those who prefer to garden with assistance from chemicals. Proper pruning, planting times, and variety selection are keys to success.

However, the “organic” aspect requires some adaptations. First, you need to pay more attention to the soil since you won’t be able to simply throw down fertilizer to make up for deficiencies. Build up the soil and improve its drainage by using organic compost, and choose natural fertilizers to beef up its nutritional profile. Compost itself is a fertilizer, but you can add manure, fish tea, and other natural materials for even more soil nutrition.

Choosing the Right Plants

In the Pacific Northwest, you can expect cool and wet weather. This create a great environment for cool-season plants like arugula, spinach, radishes, bok choy, mustard greens, turnips, peas, fava beans, and more. In the summer, plant tomatoes, peppers, and other heat-loving vegetables.

Why Grow Vegetables?

Growing your own vegetables may result in better-tasting produce. You also save a significant amount of money. People who buy organic produce from a store often find it unaffordable, but for a gardener, it is nearly free! In fact, if the time you spend on labor isn’t included as a cost, a vegetable garden is technically a profit source. That’s because for the average $238 spent on supplies, you can expect to get $677 worth of produce back. Finally, you know exactly what, if anything, was put onto the produce before you consume it.

Flowers and Other Non-Edible Plants

Is a garden really complete without a few flowers and ornamentals? For the most environmentally-friendly flower garden, grow native Oregon plants. These are adapted to our local conditions, so they require less fertilizer, watering, and pesticides. This reduces problems with runoff, flooding, and pollution.

Ornamentals are good for wildlife, err, the Portland city limits equivalent. Many produce berries or seeds that serve as food for birds and other creatures. Therefore, planting them leads to more beauty than the plants themselves provide, as colorful wildlife arrives to get the free food.

If you’d like to get started with organic gardening, or you’d like to improve your current gardening skills, check out the Garden, Nature and Yard classes offered by PCC. These will give you the head start you need for beautiful results.

Here at PCC, we also offer a number of other classes on outdoor production, including backyard chicken keeping, beekeeping, permaculture, and herb gardening. These will allow you to produce much of your own food and beautify your landscape in ways that are healthy for both you and your environment. Check them out and sign up for the ones that interest you most!

Other Home, Garden and Yard courses offered this term:
Growing Plants for Fun and Profit
Organic Vegetable Gardening: Basics for Beginners
Cool Season Vegetable Crops
Warm Season Vegetable Crops
Clay Garden Markers
Designing and Planting a Forest Garden
Healthy Soil, Healthy Food, Healthy Planet
Foundations of Permaculture
Backyard Beekeeping: Beginning
Culinary Herb and Edible Flower Gardening
Home Gardening Series with Rod Smith
Landscape Design
Trees, Shrubs and Roses
Annuals, Perennials and Bulbs
Growing Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs
Lawn Care
Insects and Diseases
Diseases and Weeds
Watering and Irrigation
Maximize your Yard with Permaculture Design
Foundations of Permaculture