Versatile Vegetables

Versatile Vegetables

Growing and Harvesting 6 Versatile PNW Veggies  

Once the last frost of spring has come and gone you can’t help but turn your thoughts to the garden. There is certainly a lot on your to-do list if you’re considering growing your own food – by far one of the most rewarding gardening endeavors. We’ve put a list together of what you can do now to prepare your raised beds for a successful growing season and harvest. We also hand-selected six vegetables that are not only great for PNW vegetable gardens but offer variety and versatility in the kitchen.  

Preparing Raised Garden Beds  

De-winterizing your raised garden beds or building new ones is a great way to welcome spring.  

  1. Cultivate – as a gardening practice, cultivating is simply removing weeds and loosening the soil. Using a hand tiller is a simple and effective way to aerate and prepare your soil for the season.  
  2. Aerate – simply run a broadfork AKA u-fork through your weed-free soil.  
  3. Sheet mulch – add a layer of compostable material like newspaper or thin chemical-free kraft paper to keep weeds suppressed. If you begin your raised bed prep early enough you can consider adding a layer of cardboard (remove all staples and tape).  
  4. Add organic matter – This also helps mitigate compaction, improves the structural integrity of the soil, improves drainage and increases the soil’s capacity to hold water. At Molbak’s we carry a variety of organic mulch and soil amendments designed for raised beds. You’ll need enough compost to top dress the bed by one to two inches. 
  5. Install drip irrigation – this step of course is completely optional but if you have the time and the budget it’s a simple and effective way to give your plants consistent moisture.  
  6. Bait for slugs and snails – use an iron-phosphate bait that’s safe for wildlife and pets. Sluggo is a great option.  
  7. Be prepped – a cold snap in spring can happen unexpectedly. Be prepared with cloches, blankets or row covers in the event that you need to cover your veggies for the night.  

Versatile Veggies We Love  

This list features veggies that not only thrive in Pacific Northwest gardens but also provide versatility in the kitchen. They can be used in both savory and sweet dishes and as an ingredient in limitless regional dishes. At Molbak’s we carry all of these versatile veggies as either seeds or starts.  

1. Carrots – a cool-season veg that’s crisp, sweet and packed with nutrition. A great post-harvest shelf life and recipe versatility make carrots a yearly vegetable in our gardens. From oven roasted and put into creamy soups to pickled, air fried, pot pied and turned into the most delish dessert of all time, carrots are a win in our book.  

  • Light – full sun to partial shade 
  • Soil – loose, well-draining  
  • Water – consistent moisture, at least one inch of water weekly  
  • Days to Mature – 50 to 75
2. Broccoli – from the cruciferous family of veggies, this versatile vegetable can be used in all its glorious forms: raw, blanched, steamed, roasted or grilled. It packs a protein punch for a vegetable and here in the PNW, it’s best grown as a start.  
  • Light – at least 6 hours of full sun each day 
  • Soil – well drained, fertile  
  • Water – consistent moisture, 1 to 1.5 inches per week  
  • Days to Mature – 60 to 80
3. Zucchini – One plant can produce 3-10 pounds of produce so think about that as you map out your raised beds. Spiralized into pasta, made into fritters, grilled to perfection or baked into bread, too much zucchini is a good thing! 
  • Light – at least 6 hours of full sun each day 
  • Water – consistent watering required  
  • Days to Mature – 45 to 55  
  • # Plants/Person – 1 to 2 max 
  • Yield/Plant – 6 to 10 pounds  
4. Cauliflower – If you’re gluten free, cauliflower might be a close ally. While best grown in the fall, you can get a good harvest in early spring here in the PNW. It’s used for crusts, it’s riced, couscous-ed, made into pasta, mashed and whirred into healthy and delicious dishes.  
  • Light – full sun  
  • Water – 2 inches of water/square foot weekly 
  • Days to Mature – 45-55 days  
5. Spinach – The nutrition factor alone is reason enough to grow spinach in your backyard or on your patio. Juiced and blended into smoothies, it's almost undetectable if you aren’t big on spinach flavor. It’s a hardy, fast and simple crop that requires little fuss.  
  • Light – full sun to partial shade  
  • Soil – loose, well-draining soil  
  • Water – 1 to 1.5 inches per week  
  • Days to Mature – 20 to 30 days  
  • # Plants/Person – 4 to 8  
6. Brussels Sprouts – These plants are simply gorgeous. Despite their small stature, brussels sprouts are highly nutritious.  
  • Light – at least 6 hours of full sun each day  
  • Water – 1 to 2 inches per week  
  • Days to Mature – 80 to 90  
  • # Plants/Person – 1 to 2  
  • Yield/Plant – 2 to 3 pounds  

Molbak’s Seeds + Starts  

Our team takes pride in partnering with local farmers who offer sustainable and organic seeds and starts. Our veggie starts come from Westwind Gardens in Forest Grove, Oregon. Family owned and operated since 1992, this team produces a variety of certified organic starts. We’re proud to carry a Pacific Northwest-based, organic starts here at Molbak’s.  

We also carry seeds from a variety of vendors including non-GMO Ed Hume Seeds in nearby Puyallup that have been selected for short season and cool climate areas.   

You’ll also find an assortment of Territorial Seed Company’s offerings as well. Family owned since 1979, Territorial Seed Company offers a wide collection of organic certified seeds.  

There are simply too many varieties of seeds to list them all but below you’ll find the organic start varieties available in store. We suggest you reach out to us if you’re curious about what we have in stock.  

Organic Starts:


  • Kuroda  
  • Little Fingers  
  • Rainbow  
  • Belstar  
  • Blue Wind  
  • De Cicco  
  • Graffiti 
  • Snow Crown 
  • Snowball 
  • Synergy 
  • Veronica 
  • Olympia 
  • Renegade 

Want to learn more about growing your own food here in the Pacific Northwest? Stay in the loop of Molbak’s events or subscribe to our rewards email the next time you’re in.  

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