Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Pacific Northwest

April, 2006
Regional Report

Check Soil For Planting

To determine whether your soil is dry enough to plant, do the "squeeze test" on a handful of soil. If the soil stays in a ball when squeezed, it's too wet to cultivate. If it crumbles in your hand, you can till the soil and prepare it for planting. Till the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches, add a 3-inch layer of organic matter over the top, and dig it in. Then rake the bed smooth.

Trap Slugs

I control slugs in a variety of ways, including handpicking and trapping. My most successful traps are small terra cotta pots, inverted and propped up on small stones. Slugs crawl in during the day to hide, and I simply scrape them out each afternoon.

Renew Ornamental Grasses

Now is the time to cut dead foliage down on ornamental grasses to expose the crowns to sunlight and fresh air, paving the way for new spring growth. If new leaves have already appeared, don't cut the old leaves, but groom the plant by grasping a handful of foliage and pulling straight up. The old leaves will come away cleanly, leaving new leaves unharmed. Lightly cultivate around the plants, add compost, and water in an all-purpose 10-10-10 granular fertilizer.

Plant Extra Veggies

The Garden Writers of America encourage you to take part in their "Plant a Row for the Hungry" project. When planning your vegetable garden this year, allow one extra row for those in need. When the crop from that row is ready, harvest it and take it to the nearest soup kitchen or food bank.

Dethatch Lawns

Spring is a great time to dethatch and overseed bare areas on your lawn. Remove thatch with brisk raking with an iron rake or with a dethatching machine. Overseeding helps thicken the lawn and crowd out weeds. Spread 1 pound of grass seed for every 300 square feet of lawn.


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