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Garden hints from your Oregon State University Extension Faculty, sponsored monthly by Umpqua Soil & Water Conservation District.
The Oregon State University Extension Service encourages sustainable gardening practices.
Preventative pest management is emphasized over reactive pest control. Identify and monitor problems before acting and opt for the least toxic approach that will remedy the problem. The conservation of biological control agents (predators, parasitoids) should be favored over chemical controls.
Use chemical controls only when necessary and only after thoroughly reading the pesticide label. First consider cultural, then physical and biological controls. Choose the least-toxic options (insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils, botanical insecticides, and organic and synthetic pesticides — when used judiciously).
Recommendations in this calendar are not necessarily applicable to all areas of Oregon.
- Tune up lawn mower and garden equipment before the busy season begins.
- Have soil tested to determine its nutrient needs. For more information contact the Douglas County Extension Office at 541-672-4461 for a list of testing laboratories or view Laboratories Serving Oregon: Soil, Water, Plant Tissue, and Feed Analysis (EM 8677) which can be found by going to https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/em8677 . You can also contact the local Umpqua Soil & Water Conservation District at (541) 662-1341 or [email protected] for soil testing.
- Select and store healthy scion wood for grafting fruit and nut trees. Wrap in damp cloth or peat moss and place in plastic bag. Store in cool place.
- Plan an herb bed for cooking and creating an interesting landscape. For example, choose parsley, sage, chives, and lavender. Choose a sunny spot and plant seeds or transplants once the danger of frost has passed (late-April or early-May for the central Coast).
- Plan to add herbaceous perennial flowers to your flowering landscape this spring. Examples include candytuft, peony, penstemon, and coneflower.
Maintenance and cleanup
- Repair winter damage to trees and shrubs.
- Make a cold frame or hotbed to start early vegetables or flowers.
- Fertilize rhubarb with manure or a complete fertilizer.
- Incorporate cover crops or other organic matter into soil.
- Prune and train grapes; make cuttings.
- Prune fruit trees and blueberries.
- Prune deciduous summer-blooming shrubs and trees.
- Prune and train trailing blackberries (if not done the prior August); prune back raspberries.
- Prune fall-bearing raspberries (in late-February or early-March).
- Prune clematis, Virginia creeper, and other vining ornamentals.
- Plant windowsill container gardens of carrots, lettuce, or parsley.
- Plan to add herbaceous perennial flowers this spring: astilbe, candytuft, peony, and anemone.
- Good time to plant fruit trees and deciduous shrubs. Replace varieties of ornamental plants that are susceptible to disease with resistant cultivars found at https://pnwhandbooks.org/plantdisease/cultivar-tables
- Plant asparagus if the ground is warm enough.
- Plant seed flats of cole crops (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts), indoors or in a greenhouse.
- Where soil is dry enough and workable, plant garden peas and sweet peas. Suggested varieties of garden peas include: Corvallis, Dark Green Perfection, Green Arrow, Oregon Sugar Pod, Snappy, Knight, Sugar Snap, Oregon Trail, and Oregon Sugar Pod II.
- Good time to plant new roses.
Pest monitoring and management
- Monitor landscape plants for problems. Don’t treat unless a problem is identified.
- Use delayed-dormant sprays of lime sulfur for fruit and deciduous trees and shrubs.
- Remove cankered limbs from fruit and nut trees for control of diseases such as apple anthracnose, bacterial canker of stone fruit and Eastern filbert blight. Sterilize tools before each new cut.
- Control moles and gophers with traps.
- Elm leaf beetles and box-elder bugs are emerging from hibernation and may be seen indoors. They are not harmful, but can be a nuisance. Remove them with a vacuum or broom and dustpan.
- Monitor for European crane fly and treat lawns if damage has been verified.
Houseplants and indoor gardening
- Pasteurize soil for starting seedlings in pots or flats, or use clean sterile commercial mixes.
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