Inland Northwest, High Desert

March, 2004
Regional Report

Sow Seeds

Mother's Day, traditionally our frost-free date, is but 10 short weeks away. Gardeners, start your seeds.

Don't Plant Seeds Too Deeply

When the seed packet says, "cover seeds with 1/16" of fine soil," that pretty much means "don't cover." A good number of seed-starting failures begin with covering seeds with too much soil. Mother Nature usually just lets most seeds drop to the ground, get wet, and go from there. Instead of spreading a blanket of soil, gently press the seeds into the potting soil and mist.

Keep Plant Feet Dry

It's hard to think of a plant that tolerates wet feet. Good air circulation to the roots is essential for healthy roots. Instead of putting broken pot shards inside your pots (some do that to prevent the soil from dribbling out), put them in the saucer underneath the pots. They'll hold the pot a little higher, encouraging better air circulation and healthier plants.

Pot Up Bare-Root Plants

It's easy to gather up bare-root plants this time of year, but then what? Pot 'em up, that's what. The ground won't be workable for weeks, while daylilies and bulb flowers are busting out of their packages now. Wash out some of those large pots you saved from last summer. Fill them with new, sterile potting soil, and pot up your new treasures. You can set them out just like any other transplant when it warms up.

Plan Now for Sweet Homecomings

Next time you come home, slow down as you slide into the driveway. What do you see? Where do your eyes settle? Park the car and go back out to get a better look at that spot. If your favorite plant can go there, it should. That alone will make you feel welcome every time you come home.

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