Pacific Northwest

March, 2006
Regional Report

Bring Spring Indoors

Prune branches of spring-flowering shrubs to force into bloom indoors. Forsythia, honeysuckle, pussy willow, and witch hazel are good candidates for indoor forcing. Place the cut branches in a vase of water, out of direct sunlight. Change the water twice a week, and in about three weeks the branches will produce catkins or flowers.

Sow Seeds of Cool-Season Veggies

If your garden soil is well drained, sow seeds of cool-season cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli directly into the garden. These plants don't mind the cooler air and soil temperatures of early spring, and you'll get an early harvest if you plant them now.

Eliminate Chickweed

Chickweed flourishes during the winter months. To prevent this small-leaved, ground-hugging weed from taking over beds and borders, check the garden regularly and hand pull any you find. Keeping up with this weed throughout the winter makes spring chores much easier. Spreading an organic pre-emergent herbicide, such as corn gluten, over garden areas will continue to keep weeds at bay.

Harvest Scion Wood

Scion wood is used to graft onto fruit tree rootstocks, creating more of the varieties you want to grow. Collect and save scion wood when pruning fruit trees; pencil-thin branches from the previous season's growth are best. Place the branches in plastic bags and store in the refrigerator until you're ready to use them.

Plant Bare-Root Trees and Shrubs

If you purchased bare-root trees, shrubs, or vines, get them into the ground as soon as possible. Begin by pruning off dead or damaged roots, and then soaking the roots in a bucket of water for several hours to help them rehydrate. Then place the plant in a hole large enough to accommodate the roots when spread out in a natural shape. Backfill with native soil, and mulch over the root area with compost to help conserve soil moisture.

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