Western Mountains and High Plains

February, 2011
Regional Report

Add More Compost to Gardens

Before you start up spring planting, be sure you add more good compost to the garden. Spread three to four cubic yards per thousand square feet. Dig or till to a depth of four to six inches deep. Allow a few weeks before planting so the soil will mellow.

Use Quality Seed-Starting Mixes

To prevent seedling damping-off and other soil borne diseases, be sure to use a quality seed-starting mix. It should state on the package that is has been sterilized or pasteurized. Avoid the addition of garden soil, as it can introduce diseases and weed seeds.

Check Houseplants for Pests

As the days get longer and temperatures warm, be on the lookout for signs of insect pests on your houseplants. Telltale signs of aphids are the sticky honeydew drippings on the leaves. Simply wash them off with a stream of water or soap spray.

Test Leftover Seeds

If you are uncertain about past season's seeds, do a germination test. Place ten seeds between moistened paper towels and seal in a plastic bag. Set in a warm spot, but out of direct sunlight. Check daily to see if seeds are sprouting If less than half sprout, it's time to purchase new seeds.

Plan Ahead

Taking time to plan ahead will save time and money. Learn about the plants you'd like to grow. What are the requirements for exposure? Does they do best in sun, shade, or part shade? How much water is needed? With the right information, you can group plants with similar water and sun needs in the best locations.

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