Pacific Northwest

March, 2007
Regional Report

Propagate Dianthus

There's an easy way to produce more dianthus from your blooming plant. As creeping dianthus begins to bloom, you can cut off short bloom stalks along with a piece of leafy stem and root them in the ground by simply inserting the stems into moist soil. New roots will develop within a few months.

Plant Extra Veggies

The Garden Writers of America encourage you to take part in their "Plant a Row for the Hungry" project. When planning your vegetable garden this year, add one extra row for those in need. When the crop from that row is ready, harvest it and take it to the nearest soup kitchen or food bank.

Make Inexpensive Plant Markers

I've tried marking my bulbs with stick markers, only to have them fall over and wash away. Now I use an inexpensive method that never fails. I save plastic forks and spoons from fast-food restaurants and write on the handles with a permanent marker. I bury the spoon or fork head in the soil and leave the handles above ground as markers; the heads anchor the utensils in the ground, and they stay put for two or three years.

Divide Hostas

When new foliage just begins to emerge, dig and divide overgrown hosta clumps. For quickest recovery, each new division should have at least two leaves attached to a mass of roots. Replant the divisions after amending the soil with moisture-retentive compost or other organic matter.

Measuring the Easy Way

Instead of carrying a measuring tape around, try using these handy tips for estimating distances when you're planting seeds or plants in the garden. A standard-sized seed package is 3-inches wide. If you have large hands, your index finger is about 1 inch wide. If you have small hands, use the width of your your thumb to measure 1 inch.

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