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Time to Plant: Spring Planting in the Pacific Northwest

Apr 24, 2017

Planting takes careful planning in order to achieve a successful harvest down the line. It is important to know two things well before heading to the nursery for supplies: what to grow and when to grow it. Planting and growing seasons vary by region, and the crops that thrive early down in Southern California may need a bit more time for the Pacific Northwestern soil to warm up.

What should I plant now in the Pacific Northwest?

Our beloved Cascadia is known to accommodate a bounty of springtime fruits, vegetables, herbs, and more… and now is the time to shine for the following favorites.

1. Fruits and vegetables

Carpinito’s offers all of the below options as fruit and vegetable starts. Please note that some nursery items are subject to availability.

Beans: Now is the time to plant all your favorite bush and pole beans! One delicious heirloom variety that grows well in the Pacific Northwest is the Blue Lake Bush bean -- a crisp and classic green string bean that adds snap to your salad or can easily be steamed and served alongside fish (or your favorite protein). Plant them outdoors in full sun, and expect a quick harvest (they typically reach maturity in 1-2 months).

Cucumbers: While spring is a good time to start planning for your cucumbers, it’s a good idea to wait until temperatures begin to climb a bit, as cukes thrive in warmer weather. When conditions are right, try growing Pickling Cucumbers (shorter and broader varieties that are perfect for at-home pickling) or classic Sweet Slice Cucumbers for salads, sandwiches, and snacking. Plant and pick whenever they reach your desired size!

Melons: Plant now for perfect, juicy watermelon or muskmelon (honeydew and some varieties of cantaloupe) by summertime! After a couple months, give them a gentle thump to check if they’re ripe (hint: if they sound hollow, they’re likely ready).

Onions: Sweet and mild Walla Walla Onions are perfectly suited for Northern latitudes. Plant your bulbs in dry soil, and with the proper care and maintenance, you should have a mature crop within approximately two months. Onion sets in white, yellow or red varieties are available now at Carpinitos, so come in and get planting!

Potatoes: Potato planting season is in full swing, so get your starts now at the Carpinito retail store. The tubers should be ready to harvest within a few weeks of flowering (typically by early fall).

Peppers: Carpinito Bros. is proud to offer a robust lineup of hot, mild, and sweet pepper varieties for all your culinary needs (subject to availability): Anaheim, Ancho San Martin, California Wonder, Carmen, Cayenne, Golden Bell, Hot Red Cherry, Hungarian Yellow Wax, Italian Sweet, Jalapeno, King Arthur, Pimento, Serrano Del Sol, Super Chili, Sweet Banana, Thai Dragon. Plant now!

Summer squash: As soon as this flowering plant starts to blossom, your summer squash is nearing maturity! Save the blossoms and fry them up for a delicious snack straight from your garden. Popular varieties that are ready to plant now include zucchini, which can yield a large crop and keep your kitchen well-stocked for weeks, and Yellow Crookneck Squash, a classic and mild warm-weather option.

Tomatoes: We’ve got all the ready-to-plant varieties you need for the freshest salads, sauces, and more (subject to availability): Beefsteak, Black Russian, Better Boy, Brandywine, Celebrity, Cherokee Purple, Cupid, Early Girl, Fantastic, Golden Rave, Juliet Hybrid, Lemon Boy, Oregon Spring, Patio, Red Pear, San Marzano, Striped German, Sun Sugar, Sweet 100, Sweet Million, Viva Italia, and more.

Broccoli and spinach: Both broccoli and spinach can be planted in spring or fall. If you’re taking this seasonal opportunity to plant a new broccoli or spinach crop, make sure you plant them in full sun and keep the soil moist. With proper care and cultivation, you’ll have beautiful homegrown greens in no time!

Pumpkins: Believe it or not, May is the average time to start planting those pumpkins for fall! Whether your patch will include baby sugar pumpkins for pies or larger varieties for jack-o-lantern carving, plan your plot in the spring so they’re ready to pick in time for your seasonal festivities.

2. Herbs

If you aren’t quite ready to commit to tending to an outdoor garden plot, a DIY herb garden is a lower maintenance way to test out your home growing skills. Many herbs also do well in flexible growing conditions, so if you don’t have your own yard space, you can choose varieties that thrive in indoor pots. This also makes them ideal for planting and growing anytime year-round!

While our Carpinito-grown herb start offerings are always rotating, a few of our favorite options include mint, rosemary, oregano, thyme, parsley, catnip, chives, sage, and lavender. Stop by our retail store to browse our current stock and talk shop with our knowledgeable employees.

3. Annuals and Perennials

For many new gardeners, it’s easy to mix up the difference between annual and perennial plants -- but it’s just as easy to remember a few quick facts to help you get them straight (and successfully plan your planting approach). Let’s take a look at the most basic definitions of each:


  • Must be planted each spring.
  • Life cycle (seed to maturity) lasts one growing season (i.e. - spring to fall).
  • Many flower varieties are annuals.


  • Continue growing for multiple years (varies depending on plant type) until they reach maturity.
  • Though their growth cycle is longer than that of annuals, their blooming period is typically shorter.
  • Healthy perennials do not need to be re-planted each year, but spring is a great time to plant new perennials if you want to add them to your garden or landscape.
  • Many green and woody plants are perennials (i.e. - trees, shrubs, etc.). Evergreen species are also perennials (i.e. - pine trees).

Carpinito Brothers offers hundreds of colorful hanging baskets, all locally grown in our on-site greenhouses. From flowers to greenery and sun plants to shade plants, add your favorites to an indoor or outdoor space for fresh and lively springtime decor.

For all your gardening needs -- from Carpinito Grown starts, landscape products, to tools, fertilizer, decor and more-- head into the Carpinito Brothers Nursery & Garden Center: Now open Monday through Saturday, from 8am to 7pm and Sunday until 6pm! Be sure to follow us on Facebook for the latest updates.