Pacific Northwest

April, 2008
Regional Report

Choosing Healthy Bedding Plants

Look for well-proportioned plants with sturdy stems and unopened buds. The best plants are often found in large, deep cells spaced far apart. These have larger root systems and are less likely to have been stressed while growing.

Add Wood Ashes

Adding wood ashes to your garden can help reduce soil acidity, but it's always a good idea to test your soil first so you'll know how much to apply. Wood ashes not only add potassium, they also raise the pH. Don't apply ashes to your garden if your soil pH is already 7.0 or higher. In general, use 1/2 to 1 pound of wood ash per year around shrubs and roses, 10 to 15 pounds per 1,000 square feet spread on the lawn, and 10 to 30 pounds per 1,000 square feet turned into vegetable and flower gardens.

Outwit Cats

One way to deter cats from digging in freshly cultivated soil is to lay crumpled chicken wire over the bed and cut holes in it for planting. As the plants grow, they'll hide the chicken wire, but it will continue to discourage cats from using the bed as a litter box.

Overseed Lawns

Fill bare spots in the lawn by loosening the soil to a depth of 1/2 inch and sowing seed. Work the seed in and gently water the area. Keep the area moist by covering it with compost or peat moss, and let the grass fill in completely before mowing.

Keep a Garden Calendar

Keep a garden calendar near the door closest to the garden. Use it to mark the seasons and help you keep track of when you plant, fertilize, and harvest. Also, note what plants grow best in your garden year after year.

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