Inland Northwest, High Desert
Seed a New Lawn
Although we\'ve had a couple of freezes, the soil is still warm, and grass seed should sprout and sod should grow quickly if planted now. Cover seeded lawns with hay or straw to keep the soil moist for seed germination.
Clean Up Vegetable Gardens
If Jack Frost has been to your garden, move the done-for plants to the compost pile. Smaller pieces of organic matter compost better, so chop, till, or mow over the plants to jump-start the composting process. Mix in leaves, manure, or hay with the green matter, water the whole pile, and cover to let it heat up.
Clean Up Flower Beds
While you're out planting spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips, clean up the flower beds. Deadhead flowers that survived the frost. Remove annuals that were frosted or have finished for the season. Compost the plant debris to eliminate sites for next year's insect eggs and disease in your garden.
Recycle Sunflower Stalks
Don't do away with the giant sunflower stalks - recycle them. After the flowers have faded, pull up the stalks and cut off the heads and roots and any leaves that are left. Put the stalks in a clean, dry place such as a basement for storage. Next spring, use them as bean poles or teepees.
Apply a dormant-season fertilizer to lawns. Make sure the nitrogen is not water soluble - we don't want it greening up the lawn during warm spells. Cool-season grasses such as Kentucky blue grass, fescue, and ryegrass should be fertilized with winter fertilizer after the last mowing of fall and just before the permanent snow cover arrives. The nutrients will give the grass a quick start in spring and will last until mid-May.