Recommended Garden Projects for This Week

Gardening season is really kicking into high gear in the Spokane area but don't be fooled by 70 degree daytime weather. The key temp to keep an eye on in the forecast is the nighttime temp. The usual last freeze date in the area is May 15, so even if the 10 day forecast doesn't predict a freeze, don't plant those tomato and pepper plants yet. They'll just sit in the soil pouting about how cold it gets at night, if they don't freeze. A snow free Micah Peak is the ultimate green light for planting warm weather plants around her. My theory is that the garden centers sell huge tomato starts now to fool you into planting them and killing them off so you come back in June to get more.

That doesn't mean there isn't a lot to do around the garden now. Plant peas, potatoes, radishes and carrots now. Start your squash plants now. It is easy to direct seed squash but I've found the pheasants like to nip the tender shoots. If you're planning to enter the County Fair start your mammoth sunflower seeds now to get a head start.

A fun project for this week is to survey your perennial flower beds for volunteer plants coming up from seeds dropped by the plants last fall. This morning I transplanted around 30 purple coneflower volunteers that were sprouting up in the asparagus (pictured above). I also potted up around 25 borage volunteers to plant throughout the garden later on. Ironically I started borage and purple coneflower seeds in the greenhouse this Spring and so far the garden volunteers are outproducing the greenhouse 2 to 1.

The combination of rain and sun is really going to get the weeds going so do your best to get ahead of the game early by pulling weeds now when they are small. For every hour you put in weeding now you'll save 2 hours of weeding later in the summer.

Looking forward to our first year of asparagus after planting them 2 years ago. It takes that long for the roots to get established.