Pacific Northwest

December, 2011
Regional Report

Inventory Saved Seeds

It's still a little early to start most seeds indoors, but it won't be long, so sort through your saved seed, check your seed-starting supplies, and make a list of what you'll need. Seed racks should be fully stocked in garden centers this month.

Prepare Beds for Planting

Go ahead and clean out that vegetable garden you've been meaning to get to since fall. (It's okay, it's been a busy holiday season.) February is just around the corner and if temperatures are on the mild side, it will be a year when peas can be planted well before President's Day.

Tidy Up Your Roses

Remove any stray leaves that may still be on your rose canes. Be sure to discard these leaves rather than tossing them into the compost pile. This will help reduce the spread of black spot and other diseases.

Force Branches into Early Bloom

If you're lightly pruning unwanted branches and water sprouts from some of your early-blooming shrubs and trees, bring them inside and put them in a vase of water. This will force their bloom, and you will have their beauty to enjoy before the plants outside put on their show. The list includes witch hazel, forsythia, flowering quince, early cherry and pussy willow.

Check Stored Vegetables

Check stored fruits and vegetables including squash, potatoes, and apples for bad spots which may lead to decay. Remove and use those showing signs of spoiling. Separate others into slotted trays or bins to increase air circulation and reduce decay possibilities.

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