Pacific Northwest

March, 2003
Regional Report

Plant Peas

Plant garden peas now if your soil is well drained and workable. Varieties for our area include 'Corvallis', 'Dark Green Perfection', 'Green Arrow', 'Oregon Sugar Pod', 'Oregon Trail', and 'Snappy'. If mosaic virus disease historically attacks your peas, look for resistant varieties.

Begin Harvesting Asparagus

Instead of harvesting all the asparagus spears as they emerge, allow the first three large spears per crown to grow into ferns. Then begin harvesting spears as they emerge. By leaving the first three, you ensure that the crown will be fed by them, and you can harvest asparagus weeks longer than normal.

Apply Dormant Oil

Prune fruit trees, such as apple and peach, and apply dormant oil spray to suffocate overwintering scale and their eggs. Spray on a calm day when temperatures are above 45 degrees F, taking care to coat the upper and lower surfaces of all branches, plus the trunk.

Care for Spring Bulbs

Hardy spring bulbs march to their own music, sending up shoots when weather seems much too cold. I always worry about 3-inch daffodil shoots or blooming snowdrops and crocus when a cold snap hits, but if their roots are properly mulched, they're remarkably resistant to cold temperatures. When they're well mulched, these plants stop their growth during cold spells and revive during warmth. If a serious freeze is predicted, place 2 to 3 inches of organic mulch around any exposed shoots.

Cut Back Leggy Geraniums

If you're overwintering your geraniums indoors, they're probably getting tall and leggy due to the reduced light. Now is a good time to cut them back to about 12 inches. Save a few 4- to 6-inch pieces to root by dipping the cut ends in rooting hormone and placing them in a pot filled with peat moss and sand. Keep the pot out of direct light while the cuttings take root, which should be in just a few weeks. You'll know your cuttings have rooted when new growth appears.

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