Pacific Northwest

June, 2012
Regional Report

Mix Your Own Potting Soil

If you have a lot of containers to fill, you'll save money by mixing your own potting soil. A wheelbarrow makes a great mixing bowl. Combine five parts peat moss, five parts perlite, and two parts compost or composted manure. Add one cup granulated organic fertilizer for each cubic yard of potting soil you make. Mix until well blended and use immediately or store in clean buckets or plastic bags.

Thin Apples and Pears

Thin fruit from apple and pear trees by removing all but one or two fruits from each cluster. Many fruits will naturally drop, but you'll need to check the fruit spacing anyway and thin more if necessary. If it's hard to convince yourself to thin, remember that remaining fruits will be larger and more flavorful at harvest time.

Keep your Garden Paths Weed-free

If you have access to wood chips, spread them 3- to 4-inch thick along your garden paths. They're attractive, will keep weed seeds from germinating, and are pleasant to walk on. Wood chips are usually free for the asking from local tree trimming companies, so check your Yellow Pages for a source in your neighborhood.

Plant Bright Colored Flowers in Shady Areas

If you have a shady bed you'd like to brighten up, try planting soft pink impatiens, light blue lobelia, white begonias and feathery maidenhair fern. The flowers and foliage contrast enough to be interesting, yet combine nicely for an attractive overall effect.

Feed Turfgrass

To promote thick and lush growth, use a 3-1-2 ratio of NPK, applying one pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn. (If a soil test shows your soil has adequate phosphorus, apply a fertilizer without this nutrient -- with a zero as the middle number -- to protect your local watershed.) Be sure to water and mow regularly to keep the grass in tip-top shape. A thick and healthy lawn will prevent weeds from becoming established by crowding out germinating weed seedlings.

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