Pacific Northwest

March, 2005
Regional Report

Plant Peas

Plant garden peas now if your soil is well draining and workable. Suggested varieties for our area include 'Corvallis', 'Dark Green Perfection', 'Green Arrow', 'Oregon Sugar Pod', 'Sugar Snap', and 'Oregon Trail'. If mosaic virus disease historically attacks your peas, be sure to rotate your pea patch and plant disease-resistant varieties.

Avoid Critter Damage

Watch for field mice damage on lower trunks of trees and shrubs, and avoid additional damage by controlling weeds to remove hiding places, reinforcing any wire caging or plastic tree wraps placed around the trunks, and keeping mulch materials a few inches away from the trunks.

Propagate Houseplants

Propagate split-leaf philodendrons and other leggy indoor plants by air layering. Here's how: Make a slanting cut about one-quarter of the way through the stem with a sharp knife. Insert a toothpick to keep the wound from healing over. Dust the wound with rooting hormone powder. Wrap the wounded area with moistened sphagnum moss and cover it with plastic to keep the rooting medium from drying out. Tape the plastic tightly to the stem. When roots form, cut the new plant off the parent and pot it up.

Make Your Own Rooting Hormone

The twigs of willows (Salix spp.) contain a natural hormone that stimulates root growth. To make an organic rooting solution, snip willow branches into 1-inch lengths and split in half with a sharp knife. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil, take it off the heat, and add the willow pieces. Steep overnight. Soak your cuttings in the solution for a few minutes before potting them up, and use the solution to moisten the growing medium.

Start Seeds

Sow seeds of cold-tolerant flowers, such as pansies, delphiniums, snapdragons, and columbines, in flats or pots and place them in a cold frame. When they've developed three sets of true leaves, they'll be ready to plant out in the garden. Harden them off by taking them out of the cold frame during the day and putting them back in at night. After a week of this treatment, they'll be ready to spend their nights outdoors.

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