Pacific Northwest

January, 2012
Regional Report

Prepare Soil for Planting

Prepare fallow garden beds by digging in some manure where you're planning to plant peas in the spring. The manure will start breaking down, making the soil all the more ready for planting when you tear open that first seed packet of the season.

Inventory Saved Seeds

It is still too early to start most seeds indoors, but it won't be long, so sort through your saved seed, check your seed-starting supplies and equipment, make lists for what you'll need. This year's seeds have started to arrive in nurseries and big box stores -- spring is on its way!

Help Your Amaryllis Rebloom

If you want your amaryllis to bloom again next year follow these simple steps. After blooming cut back the flower spike close to the bulb. The leaves should be left intact since they are making food that will provide the energy for next year's flowers. Place in bright light and continue to water and fertilize monthly. After last frost in spring, you can move your amaryllis outdoors for the summer. Continue to water and fertilize. In mid-September allow the soil to completely dry, cut back the foliage and place the bulb in a paper bag and store in a cool dark area for a rest period of six to eight weeks. After the rest period you can repot the amaryllis bulb and it should bloom again in 10 to 12 weeks.

Selectively Prune Dormant Trees and Shrubs

Now that many trees and shrubs are fully dormant, selective pruning can be done. (Easy does it on plants that bloom in the early spring; too much pruning on these will result in no flowers this spring, so wait for major pruning until immediately after they bloom.) Without leaves, it is easier to see the structure of your tree's trunk and branches, its particular shape and design. Prune out dead wood and crossing branches that rub against one another and can cause damage.

Recycle your Christmas Tree

Send your Christmas tree to the local recycling center so the tree can be shredded into mulch for use in the garden, or put it in the yard so birds can use the tree as a habitat. Add some pine cones smeared with peanut butter or other bird delectables and you've got a natural bird feeder.

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