Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Pacific Northwest

January, 2009
Regional Report

Apply Dormant Oil

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

Start Seeds

Sow seeds of cold-tolerant flowers such as pansies, delphinium, and columbine in flats or pots and place them in a cold frame. When they've developed three sets of true leaves, they'll be ready to plant in the garden. Harden them off by taking them out of the cold frame during the day and putting them back in at night. After a week of this treatment, they'll be ready to spend their nights outdoors.

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.

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, add amendments, and start planting crops such as garden and sweet peas in a sunny site.

Plant Roses

To plant bare-root roses, first prepare the soil by adding composted manure and working it in well. Inspect the roots and prune off any that are dead or damaged. Plant so that the graft union is 1-2 inches above the soil line. Keep plants well watered, especially when new growth begins.


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