Pacific Northwest

February, 2010
Regional Report

Bring Spring Indoors

You can prune the branches of spring-flowering shrubs and force them to 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 water twice a week, and in about three weeks the branches will produce catkins or flowers.

Plant Bare-Root Trees and Shrubs

If you've purchased bare-root trees or shrubs, you can plant them now. Begin by pruning off dead or damaged roots and then soaking the root mass in a bucket of water for several hours to help them rehydrate. 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 and compost to help conserve moisture.

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.

Suppress Winter Weeds

Keep winter weeds pulled before they have a chance to mature and set seeds. This will reduce the amount of spring weeding you'll have to do. You can slow soil erosion and discourage weed seeds from germinating by placing a 2-3" layer of organic mulch such as compost or bark over bare soil.

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.

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