Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Inland Northwest, High Desert

February, 2001
Regional Report

Keep Ice Away

Even though we're heading toward spring, the nights will continue to freeze for a while. Keep a decorative container full of sand and a trowel on your porch. Spread the sand on the walk before you venture out in the morning. Kitty litter works well, too.

Start Early Veggie Seeds

It's finally time to start your earliest vegetables indoors. Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and onions can all be started now under lights. Check the back of the seed packets on your perennials, too. Some of them, such as delphiniums, need to be started early to ensure a flower show this year.

Stay Out of the Garden

The soil is going to stay wet for longer than we have patience for. But we must stay off the gardens. If we step in the wet soil now, our boots will press out all the air bubbles, ruining the soil structure. We'll be left with something resembling concrete instead of our light, friable soil, and our plants won't appreciate it.

Make Paths in Wet Soil

If you absolutely must work in the garden before the soil is dried out enough, you can make a path to avoid harming the soil structure. Lay some very wide boards or carpet remnants over the places you must walk. Continue to use these areas as garden paths in the summer, keeping them well mulched.

Feed the Birds

Late winter is a critical time for feeding the birds. Their natural foods are running low, and spring feed is not yet available. Most birds like black sunflower seeds the best. To provide insect-eating birds with a little more protein, pack some suet or peanut butter, dried fruits, and seeds into an old plastic berry basket and hang it from a tree branch.


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