Soil Type and Testing

  • Estimating Soil Texture: Sandy, Loamy, or Clayey?  Short article provides specific tests home gardeners can do to determine the texture of their soil. David Whiting, Adrian Card, and Carl Wilson, Colorado State University Extension, 2011
  • Home Gardener’s Guide to Soils and Fertilizers: Good overall introduction to soils. Includes overview of soil type, health, and long-term maintenance through fertilizer and organic matter amendments. Craig Cogger, Washington State University Extension, 2005
  • Laboratories Serving Oregon: Soil, Water, Plant Tissue, and Feed Analysis:  Overview of labs in Oregon that perform soil testing for farms and gardens. J. Hart, Oregon State University Extension, 2008
  • Soil Basics: Provides overview of soils, including techniques to evaluate your soil type, and methods to kill existing sod or other vegetation when beginning a new garden.Cornell University, 2010
  • Soil Test Interpretation Guide: Good primer if you’re a gardener or farmer who wants to understand the science behind your soil test. D.Horneck, D. Sullivan, J. Owen, and J. Hart, Oregon State University 2011
  • Web Soil Survey: For gardeners who want to take their soil expertise to the next level, this site provides a search that allows you to pinpoint the soil type based on soil surveys done by the NRCS. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, 2012

Organic Fertilizers and Amendments

  • Alternative Soil Amendments, Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA): Provides good overview of a range of soil amendments available to organic farmers and gardeners. Bart Hall, 1998. Revised by Preston Sullivan, 2001
  • Calculating Fertilizer Application Rates: Once you have your soil tested, and you decide what type of amendments you’d like to add, this publication provides the calculations you’ll need to determine the amount of amendment you’ll need. Colorado State University Extension, 2011
  • Fertilizing Your Garden: Vegetables, Fruits, and Ornamentals: Provides examples of fertilizer types, how to interpret and apply the results of a soil test, different techniques for fertilizing, and a chart for converting between different types of fertilizers. J. Hart and R. McNeilan, Oregon State University Extension, 2000
  • Improving Garden Soils with Organic Matter: Adding organic matter (OM) to garden soil is just as important as adding fertilizers. This publication gives an overview of the benefits of adding OM to soil, sources of OM, and how to apply OM to your garden. N. Bell, D.M.Sullivan, L.J. Brewer, J. Hart, Oregon State University Extension, 2003
  • Mulches for the Home Vegetable Garden: Good overview of organic (plant based) and inorganic (plastic) mulches. Description of organic mulches is detailed and useful in deciding which mulch is best for different garden situations. Diane Relf and Alan McDaniel, Virginia Cooperative Extension, 2009


  • Backyard Composting: Good compost primer with information on compost ingredients, composting techniques, troubleshooting, and compost uses in the garden. Craig Cogger and Dan Sullivan, Washington State University Extension, 2009
  • Compost Calculator: This tool calculates the volume of compost you’ll need based on the area and depth of compost application. Saving Water Partnership, Seattle Public Utilities, 2005
  • Composting With Worms: Great overview of setting up a home worm bin and troubleshooting problems. Provides photos of home made bin set-up. Sam Angima, Michael Noack, and Sally Noack, Oregon State University Extension, 2011
  • Composting at Home:  Resources from Seattle
  • Guide to Effective Composting: Includes links for a wide variety of composting resources, including guides for building compost bins. Portland Metro, 2012

Cover Crops

  • Cover Crops for Home Gardens: This short publication includes a good chart of different cover crops, their performance in the PNW, and sowing rates which are useful for home gardeners (ie amount of seeds to sow per 100 square feet of garden).  R.L. Rackham and R. McNeilan, Oregon State University Extension, 1999
  • Managing Cover Crops Profitably: Comprehensive cover crop resource especially good for market growers. Third Edition, Andy Clark, ed., Sustainabile Agriculture Network, 2007
  • Using Cover Crops in Oregon: Excellent resource on cover cropping for our region. Includes background information on the benefits and challenges of using cover crops, as well as profiles for specific cover crops that grow well here. Robert Sattrel, ed., Oregon State University Extension, 1998


  • Grow Portland Crop Calendar. Nice one page handout on what to propagate, direct sow or transplants on what dates.
  • Site Assessment for Gardeners Provides planting dates based on your region in Oregon. Also includes suggested amounts of vegetables to plant to feed a family of four. Oregon State University Extension, 2011
  • Monthly Garden Calendars: Provides gardening tips for each month of the year in Oregon. Includes recommendations for specific regions. Oregon State University Extension, 2012
  • Scheduling Vegetable Plantings for Continuous Harvest: Good introduction to the concept of succession planting. Provides suggestions for sowing intervals for continuous harvest as well as optimal soil temperatures for the germination of different crops. Janet Bachmann, ATTRA, 2008
  • Veggie Calendar: Another useful guide with planting times in the Pacific Northwest. Also includes suggestions for planting distances. Laura Alvater, Portland Nursery

Pests & Diseases