Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Pacific Northwest

October, 2004
Regional Report

Web Finds

Plant Amnesty
Answers to your questions about tree pruning and more can be found at Plant Amnesty Web site. Cass Turnbull, of Seattle, Washington, started the nonprofit organization to promote awareness and respect for plants, encourage proper pruning techniques, and educate the public. Plant Amnesty leads a cadre of volunteers and arborists in the fight against topping trees and using poor pruning practices. On the Web site you'll find photos of tortured trees and shrubs under the heading "Amazing Yard Art." It's a fun and informative site with links to plant care, pruning, and other printed resources.

Clever Gardening Technique

Summer Greens in Winter
When the weather is less than ideal for growing cool-season greens outdoors, I like to grow them indoors in pots. I've had good luck with spinach, leaf lettuce, and parsley, and a few of the more unusual leafy vegetables, such as broccoli raab and watercress. These plants make great edible centerpieces and keep dinner conversation lively.

Growing greens indoors doesn't take much effort. I start plants from seed in pots or flats of soilless mix. Since greens usually thrive with less light than fruit-forming vegetables, I can grow them on a sunny windowsill or under fluorescent lights in a spare room or basement. Plants such as basil, which prefer to be warmer, are happiest in the kitchen. I don't bother to transplant seedlings into containers of their own. Most leafy greens can grow to full size without the extra elbow room. I water as needed and fertilize once or twice.

How much and how often I harvest depends on the vigor of the plants. In midwinter even the greens growing on the sunniest windowsill may flop over before they reach their normal size. I harvest these early and resow for another crop, which usually takes about three weeks. Plants sown in late winter or grown under lights can form full, leafy rosettes. I harvest the outside leaves of these more vigorous plants over the course of several weeks.


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