Pacific Northwest

December, 2004
Regional Report

Organize Your Tools

Winter is a good time to clean and organize your garden storage area. Take everything out, oil wooden handles, sharpen blades, clean hand tools, and wash pots. Then store everything neatly with summer tools to the back and early-spring potting supplies up front. Life will be a lot easier without the frustration of searching for tools next spring!

Propagate African Violets

African violets make great houseplants and will flower year round if given supplemental light. To propagate new plants, take a leaf cutting, dip the cut end in a rooting hormone powder, and stick the cutting in a pot filled with vermiculite or sand. Cover the pot with a perforated clear plastic bag and keep the soil moist. In a few weeks you'll have new plants.

Feed The Birds

Clean bird feeders and fill them before natural seeds and berries are gone. A constant source of food will keep birds visiting all winter long. The best locations for feeders are in trees and shrubs that provide protection from the weather. Birds also need water, so keep the bird bath filled with fresh water throughout the winter months.

Divide Rhubarb

If the ground is unfrozen, divide and replant rhubarb. Amend the soil with lots of organic matter, then dig the parent plant and divide it so each new plant has two to three buds (eyes). Mulch well after replanting and keep well watered if Mother Nature doesn't cooperate.

Rehydrate Dahlia Tubers

Check stored dahlia tubers, and if a few are shriveled, you can rehydrate them by repacking them in barely moistened peat moss. I use just a spritz of water from a spray bottle and mix the peat before adding the tubers. Check on their progress in three to four days. They should be plump but not wet.

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