In the Garden:
Pacific Northwest
March, 2001
Regional Report

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17

Pea seeds sown February 21 are happy campers growing in our cool spring weather.

Spring Chores

So far this season I've been a casual observer in the garden. I've been puttering occasionally, pinching here, pruning there, and waiting for things to warm up. Finally, with the lengthening days and a few extra hours of sunshine, the adrenaline rush is on. According to the calendar, spring is officially here. Not all areas of my garden have gotten the message, but those that have are beginning to show signs of life.

Gardening on the rainy side of the state has taught me to be ready to spring into action when there's a break in the weather. Even though I work until my bones ache and muscles rebel, I can't think of a better way to spend these first sunny days of spring. It's time for my spring gardening chores.

Early Vegetables

I plant veggies in my cutting-flower beds. This allows me to save space, making the beds perform double duty. Quick-growing lettuce, spinach, and radishes are planted and harvested out of the garden by the time flowering plants need room to expand. Carrots take longer, about 10 weeks to mature, but I like their ferny, emerald green foliage as a border along the walk with the flowers behind them. Carrot foliage looks very much like immature cladanthus or cosmos and no one is the wiser.

Peas Are Up

The peas are up now, their tendrils reaching out for support. As I admire their fresh green foliage, I give each plant a nudge toward the trellis. After a few such hints they'll get the message and hold fast. Another plant that needs support is bleeding heart (Dicentra). I use tomato cages, placing one over the crown of each plant. It looks a little odd at this stage, but the cages will be hidden in two to three weeks when the foliage completely unfurls.

Moss Removal

One of my perennial beds is covered with a thick blanket of moss. I don't want to dig around and accidentally behead a young flower shoot just emerging, but the moss has got to go or the creeping verbena won't be able to spread. Because it peels off in big sheets, it's actually easy to remove. Another positive aspect of moss is that it grows thick enough to prevent winter weed seeds from germinating.


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