Pacific Northwest

February, 2008
Regional Report

Make Pots for Seedlings

You can make your own biodegradable seedling pots from newspapers. For a 3-inch pot, cut a three-layer-thick section of newspaper into a 9-inch square. Divide the paper into nine equal squares, either with a pen or by folding layers into thirds, unfolding them and folding into thirds the other way. Make a cut from along one of the fold lines in each of the four corners to the fold that marks the center square. Bend the flaps up, overlap and staple them. The pots can be planted in the garden when the seedlings are ready to be set outdoors.

Start Seeds Indoors

When starting seeds, cover the flat with clear plastic wrap to keep the seeds warm and moist. Professional growers use bottom heat to speed germination, but you can get the same effect by placing flats on top of the refrigerator. As soon as seedlings are up, remove the plastic wrap and place the flat under lights to keep the seedlings from getting spindly.

Prepare Spuds for Planting

Chitting is the term for pre-sprouting seed potatoes for quicker rooting and earlier maturity. Chitting is achieved by placing seed potatoes either in full sunlight or under fluorescent lights three weeks prior to planting. I set mine in paper egg cartons to ensure adequate air circulation, then place them in a sunny windowsill. Once the sprouts are about an inch long, the potatoes can be planted.

Organize Seeds

To save time when growing season is in full swing, sort seed packets by when they can be planted into the garden -- early in the spring, mid-spring, or late spring. Put each group into a separate box or bag. When sowing time comes, there will be no time lost searching for the seeds.

Harvest Asparagus

Asparagus spears begin to emerge when the soil temperatures reach 50 degrees F. After this, growth is dependent on air temperatures. As air temperatures increase, harvest frequency may go from every 2 to 4 days to once a day. Low temperatures extend the harvest season somewhat. Harvest spears when they reach 5 to 7 inches in height and 3/8 to 3/4 inches in diameter.

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