Late February should be a busy time in the garden

The fourth week of February is your cue to continue planting bare root roses, fruit trees and berry bushes. Asparagus and strawberry roots can go into the ground now. Put out bait for slugs, as they are waking up and looking for food to eat. Check your overwintered bulbs of glads, begonias, dahlias and cannas and remove any that look rotten before they spread their problems on to the others.

  • Tuesday, February 24, 2009 1:54am
  • News

The Compleat

Home Gardner

The fourth week of February is your cue to continue planting bare root roses, fruit trees and berry bushes. Asparagus and strawberry roots can go into the ground now. Put out bait for slugs, as they are waking up and looking for food to eat. Check your overwintered bulbs of glads, begonias, dahlias and cannas and remove any that look rotten before they spread their problems on to the others.

February is also the time to fill the house with flowers! What, you don’t have a garden full of blooming flowers right now? Well, help is on the way! Here’s your guide to beating the dark days of February and celebrating an early spring:

Fool Mother Nature by forcing branches

If your forsythia is full of yellow flowers, cut the stems, pound their ends and place them in a vase of water. But if you have forsythia, quince, flowering cherry or plums that still haven’t flowered, it is nice to fool Mother Nature. Cut bare whips or branches that have not yet bloomed and bring them indoors now. The warmth of your home will quickly force the buds open and you’ll enjoy weeks of pink, white and yellow blooms.

Get a Head Start on the bulb season

You can force daffodils, crocus, bluebells and snowdrop bulbs this week by sneaking them indoors as well. First look in the garden for the green shoots of a spring bulb. Dig up the plant – bulb and all – by loosening the soil around the roots and then scooping from below. Shake most of the soil carefully from the bulb. Grab some moss from the side of a tree while you’re outside. Now set your freshly dug bulb into a tea cup or shallow bowl, propping it upright with some pebbles. Cover with the bulb with moss and spray with just enough water to clean up the foliage and keep a bit of moisture on the roots of the bulb. In just days the leaves will lengthen and you’ll soon see a flower bud. Daffodils, hyacinths, crocus and snowdrops will flower indoors weeks before they open up outside. Once the bulb blooms you can replant it back outdoors into the same hole it was growing in before.

Q. I forgot to plant my daffodil bulbs and just found them in a box in the garage with shoots coming up out of each bulb. What should do I do now? Try to plant them or toss them out. B.B., Longview

A. Dig a trench and get those daffodils into the ground now. You are lucky because you stored them in a cold place so they got their chilling requirement taken care of. Bulbs already have their flower formed when you plant them in the fall so they will still bloom after a winter of abuse, as long as they got the cold treatment. Once these forgotten bulbs flower be sure to give them some liquid plant food. They need the extra nourishment to make next season‘s flowers.

• • •

Marianne Binetti has a degree in horticulture from Washington State University and is the author of “Easy Answers for Great Gardens” and several other books. For book requests or answers to gardening questions, write to her at: P.O. Box 872, Enumclaw, 98022. Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a personal reply.

For more gardening information, she can be reached at her Web site, www.binettigarden.com.

Copyright for this

column owned by Marianne Binetti.

More in News

Crashed plane in Burnett, two injured

The Pierce County Sheriff Department said the plane lost power after taking off.

First family officially moves into Ten Trails

It was hard for the McFaddens to find a home, with houses flying off the market within days, even hours. So they told their agent to stop looking at what’s already been built, and start searching for what is going to be built, leading a family of six to the Black Diamond development.

King County Fair begins four-day run; Saturday brings handcars, parade to Wilkeson

The longest-running county fair west of the Mississippi River is back with some old favorites and new attractions.

White River’s Hawthorne earns spot in Virginia leadership camp

Hawthorne earned his Academy slot by virtue of his accomplishments both on and off the wrestling mat.

Toxic algae warning in Lake Tapps

Be careful swimming in the northeastern part of the lake.

State survey seeks information from SR 410 drivers

Make sure to let WSDOT know how you think traffic between Bonney Lake and Enumclaw can be improved by Sunday, July 22.

Sehr gut: Enumclaw student to spend senior year in Germany

Macie Bosik is excited to break the mould and do something different for her last year of high school.

EHS harriers pitching in with community service

The Hornet Team recently helped with the Miner’s Day 5K run in Black Diamond, and will be moving on to other projects later this summer.

Group moving ahead with plans for Mount Peak tower

The Mount Peak Historical Fire Lookout Association may have to shift where the tower would be placed, and the cost is estimated at $450,000.

Most Read