Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Pacific Northwest

January, 2001
Regional Report

Recycle Christmas Trees

Recycle Christmas trees by putting them in the yard and decorating them with peanut butter-stuffed pinecones or garlands of cranberries. The birds will love the food source. You can get extra mileage from the tree if you plant sweet peas or morning glory seeds beneath it when the weather warms. By mid-spring the tree will be draped in color.

Rotate Houseplants

Houseplants reach for the light when levels are low, and during winter months they can become lopsided. To keep your plants from leaning, rotate them a quarter turn every 2 weeks or supplement the natural light with grow lights until spring when the sun is higher and stronger.

Making Your Own Soil

You can purchase pasteurized potting soil to start seedlings indoors or make your own custom blend. My recipe includes 1/2 bushel sphagnum peat moss, 1/4 bushel vermiculite, 1/4 bushel perlite, 8 teaspoons ground dolomitic lime, 2 teaspoons superphosphate, 3 teaspoons 10-10-10 fertilizer, 1 teaspoon iron sulfate, and 1 teaspoon potassium nitrate. Thoroughly mix, then store in a dry place.

Spray Peach Trees

Spray peach trees with a fungicide to prevent peach leaf curl. Choose a calm, dry day to avoid overspraying adjacent plants. If you're planning to plant a new peach tree this spring, choose a disease resistant variety such as 'Frost'.

Force Branches into Bloom

Cut foot-long branches of quince, forsythia, and flowering cherry to force into early bloom indoors. Place the branches in a vase of warm water and change the water weekly. Keep the branches in bright but indirect light, and in a few weeks they'll be blooming.


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