Too early to plant onions and potaotes?

I notice that the stores here (mid Willamette Valley, Lebanon, Oregon - just south of Salem) have onion sets and seed potatoes. The planting calendars show it to be too early for potatoes. Do the stores just like to jump the gun, or can you start planting cold weather stuff like radishes, onions, mustard, etc.?
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"Ook" <Ook Don't send me any freakin' spam at zootal dot com delete the Don't send me any freakin' spam> wrote in message

I can't answer the "when" question, but if you have an informed interest in any unique potatoes, you might want to ask at these stores how quickly they sell out. Around here (NY), stuff like that's gone by early March, which is 4-8 weeks before we can actually plant. Apparently, potato devotees buy this stuff very early, and store it carefully. Last year, I went to buy a bag of potting soil in February and noticed fava bean seeds. I thought "I'll grab those next week after doing some reading about fava beans". Next week, gone. Per the manager: Inventory cleaned out by old Italian ladies. :-)
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Yeah, we learned that lesson a long time ago - if it's on the shelf now, get it while it's there. Retailers are deathly afraid of having one single unsold item left over, so they never sell enough to satisfy the total demand.
Last year I planted potatoes from some old rotting/growing potatoes we found in the back of the pantry. They did suprisingly well. what is the difference between those and "seed potatoes" we see at the stores?
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"Ook" <Ook Don't send me any freakin' spam at zootal dot com delete the Don't send me any freakin' spam> wrote in message

Supposedly, seed potatoes are known to be free of diseases. Who knows if it's true? The other issue might be that they'll be varieties you don't often see in stores, some of which are quite interesting and tasty.
As far as when to plant, go to google and search using these words: oregon cooperative extension
Do you know what that organization is?
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Oregon State University Cooperative Extension publishes a planting calendar for the local area, but they don't seperate the different areas of the valley. Last frost dates in the valley vary by as much as 3-4 weeks, as do planting times, depending on where in the valley you are. Their calendar is also very conservative - they don't want anyone to follow their advice and then have crops freeze/fail. I went ahead and put a bunch of onions and potatoes in the ground, since we have had a few dry weeks, and it's not likely to be this dry again for another 3-4 months (once it starts to rain again, it won't stop until June). I put in about 4 feet of daikon just to see if they will grow. I have little to loose if they don't, and since daikon is very sensitive to warm weather, they just might do good if planted early.
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"Ook" <Ook Don't send me any freakin' spam at zootal dot com delete the Don't send me any freakin' spam> wrote in message

I don't know how big this valley is, but it sounds like where I live: Rochester NY, on the south side of Lake Ontario. Planting details can vary tremendously between my neighborhood, and those of friends 20 miles south. Matter of fact, it's different 8 minutes away. Worse, it's different from one side of my property to another. Mini-climates, in other words.
This is why gardeners are better than all other people: We become scientists if we really want to be successful. You have to get to know your area intimately over a number of years. The only way is through experimentation, and becoming comfortable with total failure and disaster. When things go well, you'll think you're da bomb. When things go lousy, you'll still think your da bomb.
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