Vegetable Gardening in the Flathead Valley

Real Estate Broker/Owner with 406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty RRE-BRO-LIC-75443

A caveat is required before you read any further. I have never been good with plants. Rarely do my plants stay alive, so this is not intended to be a manual on how to successfully tend vegetable gardens in the Flathead Valley. That being said, I did recently attend a local vegetable gardening class since I do intend to try my hand at gardening this year. I learned some interesting things about doing so in this area. If you have a Kalispell garden that hasn't been growing properly OR if you are moving into the area and plan to grow vegetables, these tips might be of use.



So what did I learn?

pH Levels

The soil in the Kalispell and Flathead Valley area is alkaline. Typically, the pH level here is an 8 or 8.5 and growing vegetables works best with a pH of around 6.5 or so. There are ways to "amend" the levels so they are better for planting, but most methods do take some time to work. Another way to grow vegetables in this high pH area is to use raised beds with purchased soil. Also of interest, water from wells has a high pH level, so treating your soil a few times a year is necessary, even if using soil with the correct pH level.


Growing Season

Another important 'a-ha' for me was the information about the growing season. While it can be warm early in the Spring, the difference between day and night temperatures is typically significant. Even in the middle of the summer, the temperature can go from 95 during the day to 45 in the evening. Those night-time temperatures are great for sleeping but not so good for growing plants. The bottom line is that any seeds or plants that are purchased for the Flathead Valley area should be those that have a 90 day growing season.  Also, the smaller choices grow better than the bigger ones (think cherry tomatoes instead of beefsteak tomatoes). So planting outside in late May or early June will result in plants that are providing fruit in July and August. Which is perfect planning for this area!



Vegetable Gardening in the Flathead ValleyBesides the pH related information above, there is more that needs to be known about the soil in this area. There are parts of the Flathead Valley where the soil is almost total sand, and other parts where it is a dense clay. Both extremes need extra time and effort to enable plants and even grass to grow. So one thing that was made perfectly clear - test the soil where you will be planting. Not only to find out what type of minerals are in the soil, but to know whether it's a soil that will retain moisture and nutrients, or one that will need constant watering and nourishing.


Gardening Information

One of the most helpful bits of information received in this four week gardening course was the following website: Montana State University Extension. If you have any interest in planting a specific type of vegetable, or you want to know about insects, composting, pesticides, weeds, water management or any other agricultural topic that has to do with Montana, the MSU extension has the information. Just download or print, and you'll have your answers!


As for me and my Montana vegetable garden, I'm currently planning what and where I'll be growing. Then the plan is to get my fence and raised beds built. I'll be ready in late May to plant my first seeds and seedlings. Will you be doing the same? If yes, let's trade notes on how our projects go!


Give me a call or email me about gardening or any Kalispellor Flathead Valley real estate related questions. My number is 406-270-3667 and my email is




Originally published at

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Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat

Licensed Broker, CBR®


Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp

P.O. Box 10458

Kalispell, MT 59904




406-270-3667 (MT)


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Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Kat - while you may not be an expert, it seems you are learning much.  May your garden thrive.  Looking forward to progress reports with lots of great photos of your bounty.  

Mar 02, 2020 01:50 PM #1
Gwen Banta
Sotheby's International Realty - Los Angeles, CA

Good luck with your garden, Kat. I attempted that once, but the local squirrel population turned out to be one larcenous group of vegetable bandits!

Mar 02, 2020 02:40 PM #2
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Kat Palmiotti I havee had vegetable gardens both in Los Angeles and Napa.  In Napa we had raised beds.  Here in Santa Barbara, I have not done it and happy to rely on the farmers market.  What I have learned here is that the farmers use hoops which protected the plants this time of the year!  They look mini-greenhouses but are great for starting tomatoes and others... Good luck, and I wish you a bountiful harvest.  A

Mar 02, 2020 02:43 PM #3
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Kat- what a good idea to take a gardening class to learn about the soil and growing tips for your new home. Can't wait to see what you grow. 

Mar 02, 2020 07:43 PM #4
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

you know I saw something on line and tried it last year and it worked amazingly.  I gardened in hay bails.  I just planted and watered my seeds not in soil, but in hay bails.  I grew marvelous vegetables in hay.  It was fun.

Mar 02, 2020 09:55 PM #5
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Kat love this post, and indeed there is a lot to learn, now keep in mind once you master this technique you will not need to spend an arm and leg at Bristol Farms or Whole Foods and you will get better tasting vegies:)Endre

Mar 02, 2020 10:16 PM #6
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Good morning, Kat Palmiotti your information is amazing.... I can't grow anything except weeds... not weed....weeds.... 

Mar 03, 2020 03:01 AM #7
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Good morning, Kat... I wish you much success in your gardening endeavors. Nothing bores me more than the thought of digging around in the earth! I'm always envious of people who make magic from gardening. 

Mar 03, 2020 04:37 AM #8
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Kat. Not much will grow in my balcony but when I had a big yard I could not grow much either. Enjoy your day!

Mar 03, 2020 05:26 AM #9
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Michael Jacobs - Thank you, I am learning a lot. And if stuff actually grows, I will definitely share photos!

Gwen Banta - Haha, we are planning on putting up a fence but that won't stop the squirrels. I wonder if there's a way to keep them out. I'll have to investigate.

Thank you Ron and Alexandra Seigel - The hoops could definitely work; If this year doesn't work, I'll have to try that next year.

Mar 03, 2020 05:39 AM #10
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Kathy Streib - If I can get plants to actually grow, I will definitely share! Well, maybe I'll share even if they don't grow. :-)

Tammy Lankford, - I never heard of hay ball gardening. I'm going to do some research! PS - I'm glad I'm not the only plant killer here.

Endre Barath, Jr. - Good morning! That's what I'm hoping - that I grow a lot of different veggies right out my door and I can use them in all sorts of interesting way. Yum.




Mar 03, 2020 05:42 AM #11
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Barbara Todaro - Haha about the weed versus weeds. I'm sure I'll do well with weeds!

Nina Hollander - I want the end product, so am willing to do the boring stuff. Although I hope it's of interest!

Mar 03, 2020 05:43 AM #12
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Wayne Martin - I was joking around that the gardening class should be called "1000 ways to kill your plants". Apparently there are MANY reasons why they might not grow. 

Mar 03, 2020 05:44 AM #13
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

Thank you for sharing what you learned in your class. I have had very limited success in gardening also but every year I tend my raised beds. Do you have a short growing season as we do?
Have a fun Tuesday Kat Palmiotti 

Mar 03, 2020 06:15 AM #14
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

I love how you are jumping in and embracing your new home, Kat. Have fun with the vegetable garden.

Mar 03, 2020 08:13 AM #15
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Kat Palmiotti - I knew you had this class planned in advance and I'm glad you shared the knowledge you learned. Because of you, I learned a lot too!!! Of particular interest to me was this line:

"Even in the middle of the summer, the temperature can go from 95 during the day to 45 in the evening. Those night-time temperatures are great for sleeping but not so good for growing plants."

With that being said, you had me do a flashback to my days of living in Maine. The temperatures I experienced from the first week in June until Labor Day weekend often had temperatures like that. What I saw grow exceptionally well were the Pine trees like I saw when I visited you at your land before the house was built and Lady Slippers. In Maine, they burst out of the ground in early June beneath the pine trees and were so beautiful. Until they bloomed, I didn't know they existed underground. So I wonder, if Lady Slippers grow well in Kalispell too? If you discover them, let me know. They make great subjects for photographs. 

Kat you ARE a wealth of information and always learning! That's just one of the many great qualities about you. 

Mar 05, 2020 09:00 AM #16
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Hello Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP ! I never heard of a Lady's Slipper before but just looked them up. It appears that they can grow in Montana - I'll have to keep my eyes open for them. 

Thank you as always for your compliments! And I hope your day is amazing.

Mar 05, 2020 12:25 PM #17
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