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Northwest Gardening: Gardening Calendar

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Northwest regional contributor Marianne Binnetti shares her month-by-month list of gardening tasks.

Northwest Regional Map

March

  • Fertilize grass with a spring lawn food.
  • Bait for slugs.
  • Plant pea seeds after soaking them overnight.
  • Spread fresh mulch over young weeds to smother them before they can bloom.
  • Prune Pee Gee hydrangeas and other summer-flowering shrubs.
  • Amend the soil with compost and manure.
  • Start seeds of tomatoes indoors.
  • Add bare root roses, fruit trees, and berries to garden.

April

  • Plant new perennial varieties of heucheras, hardy geraniums, and hosta.
  • Divide daylilies and other summer-blooming perennials to encourage more blooms.
  • Fertilize roses, clematis vines, and perennials.
  • Edge the lawn after mowing for a crisp look.
  • Spray concrete paths and patios with a moss and algae killer to clean up slippery green growth.
  • Renew woodsy pathways with fresh wood chips.

May

  • Fill window boxes, pots, and planters with summer-blooming annuals.
  • Move tomato seedlings outdoors on sunny days to harden them off. Bring indoors at night until all danger of frost is passed.
  • Seed lettuce, carrots, radish, and other cools season crops directly into the ground.
  • Plant lily, gladiola, and dahlia bulbs for summer blooms.
  • Prune overgrown lilacs, forsythia, and other spring blooming shrubs after they flower.
  • Buy and plant rhodies and azaleas while they are in beautiful bloom.

June

  • Transplant tomato and pepper starts outdoors.
  • Seed squash, cucumbers, corn, and other warm-season crops into the soil.
  • Clip evergreen hedges.
  • Groom spring bulbs by removing yellow, faded foliage.
  • Pull weeds before they rob moisture and nutrients from plants.
  • Deadhead rhododendrons and prune back overgrown shrubs after they bloom.

July

  • Pinch tall mums, asters, and sedums for more compact plants.
  • Fertilize annuals, vegetables, and plants in pots.
  • Harvest raspberries and remove old canes as they turn yellow.
  • Water your lawn if it rains less than one inch a week.
  • Deadhead roses, geraniums, marigolds, and zinnias to keep them in bloom.

August

  • Prune raspberry canes that have already borne a harvest.
  • Dig, divide, and replant early-blooming perennials such as iris, poppies, and primroses.
  • Deadhead roses, geraniums, marigolds, and zinnias and pinch back petunias to encourage fall blooms.
  • Fertilize potted plants and annuals to encourage them to flower until first frost.
  • Harvest herb plants. Dry cut herbs on a warm day by placing on top of a screen.
  • Bait for slugs, especially in groundcover plantings (vinca, ivy) where they hide.

September

  • Fertilize the grass with a fall and winter lawn food.
  • Add berries to the garden so you can taste the varieties before you buy.
  • Buy bulbs while the selection is at its best.
  • Cover tomato plants with plastic or move potted plants under cover to keep the foliage dry and prevent late blight.
  • Spray concrete paths and patios with a moss-prevention product so they don’t become green and slick this winter.

October

  • Add new perennials now -- cooler weather makes roots grow faster.
  • Overseed your lawn after raking and spreading a bit of topsoil.
  • Flush your drip system, replace clogged emitters, then store above-ground lines and hoses in a shed for the winter.
  • Add new evergreens and transplant those that have outgrown their space.
  • Harvest onions, garlic, and nuts in mesh bags, and then hang in a cool, dry spot.
  • Store green tomatoes by uprooting plants and hanging them from rafters for easy harvest in the months ahead.
  • Apply dolomite lime to lawn areas and vegetables beds.
  • Plant new groundcovers plants such as Lamium and Vinca minor as mow-free lawn substitutes in the shade.

November

  • Prune tall roses to half their height.
  • Spread a 2- to 4-inch layer of mulch around roses and other tender plants.
  • Dig and store dahlia tubers, begonias, cannas, and other tender bulbs.
  • Harvest cabbage, kale, lettuce, and squash; let beets, carrots, and potatoes stay protected in the ground.
  • Winterize power equipment by draining oil and gas from engines. Clean and sharpen mower blades.
  • Collect fallen fruit to prevent overwintering disease spores (fallen fruit also attracts rodents).
  • Divide rhubarb plants.

December

  • Clip greens from holly, fir, and cedar and use to fill empty containers and window boxes.
  • Refresh your home with new houseplants that clean indoor pollutants from the air.
  • Buy and display potted orchid plants indoors for long-lasting holiday decorating.
  • Knock heavy snow from evergreen rhododendrons and camellias to keep branches from breaking.
  • Sprinkle sand -- not salt (it harms plants) -- over icy walkways near garden beds.
  • Write a holiday wish list that includes cool new garden tools.