Pacific Northwest

April, 2008
Regional Report

Renew Ornamental Grasses

Now is the time to cut dead foliage down on ornamental grasses to expose the crowns to sunlight and fresh air, paving the way for new spring growth. If new leaves have already appeared, don't cut the old leaves but groom the plant by grasping a handful of foliage and pulling straight up. The old leaves will come away cleanly, leaving new leaves unharmed. Lightly cultivate around the plants, add compost, and water with an all-purpose 10-10-10 granular fertilizer.

Propagate Dianthus

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

Plant Extra Veggies

The Garden Writers' Association of America encourages you to take part in their Plant a Row for the Hungry project. When planning your vegetable garden this year, plant 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.

Aerate Your Lawn

Lawn aeration stimulates root growth by opening the soil to better water and air penetration, which helps the lawn to thicken up more quickly. The cores that are pulled out of the sod should be left on the grass surface where they will decompose and return nutrients to the turf.

Measuring with Ease

Instead of carrying a measuring tape around, try using these handy tips for estimating distances 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 thumb to measure 1 inch.

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