Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Pacific Northwest

October, 2010
Regional Report

Force Paperwhites

Grow paperwhite narcissus indoors by placing bulbs about halfway down in moist potting soil or in a shallow pot filled with pebbles. After leaves begin to grow, place pots near a sunny window. Water regularly and bulbs should begin to flower within two months. Bulbs won't rebloom in subsequent years, so throw them away after the flowers fade.

Clean Garden Tools

Wooden handles on tools require special care to keep them in shape. Sand the handles, if necessary, then apply a coat of bright-colored, water-resistant paint to keep the wood from drying out and prevent shrinking or splitting. Brightly colored handles are easier to see if tools are accidentally left out in the garden.

Cedar Leaf Drop

Don't worry if cedar trees are showing patches of dead, reddish brown foliage - it's probably the natural shedding of older leaves. This annual occurrence, called flagging, is more noticeable when trees are stressed for moisture. In years without drought stress, the dying of older leaves is more gradual and attracts less attention.

Chrysanthemum Care

Cut stems back to ground level after your chrysanthemums have stopped blooming. Dispose of stems and leaves by tossing them into the compost pile. In cold areas, you might even protect the plants with a layer of straw mulch. When new shoots appear in the spring, dig the root mass and divide the plant, taking some roots with each new shoot.

Rototill Fallow Beds

Spring soil preparation will be easier if you rototill beds in the fall. Add organic matter such as leaves and manure, too. Winter rains will help break up soil clods and break down organic matter. When soil warms in spring, you can lightly till the beds and rake them smooth prior to planting.


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