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The Issaquah Press
Issaquah, Washington
March 11, 2009     The Issaquah Press
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March 11, 2009

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B5 THE ISSAQUAI-[ PRESS HOME& GARDEN WEDNESDAY 9 MARCH 11, 2009 Indoor garden gets head start on spring BY DAVID HAYES A display at Squak Mt. Green Houses & Nursery shows many of the supplies needed to start your own indoor garden. BY DAVID HAYES he calendar marks March 20 as the first official day of spring. But the snow that fell last week suggests Old Man Winter isn't ready to relin- quish the reins to Mother Nature just yet. For those amateur gardeners who can't wait for the per- mafrost to melt, the solution is simple -- grow a garden in- doors. Whether the goal is to grow veg- etables, herbs or flowers, there are many hardy genera that can get a jumpstart indoors while the weather is still disagreeable. They can later be transferred outside when the garden is more accom- modating. Master gardener Chris Diggs, with Squak Mt. Greenhouses & Nursery, helped outline what to plant indoors and how, starting with vegetables. "You can startwith your cauli- flower, broccoli and cabbages," she said. "Kale, peas and lettuce are also good at transplanting." Diggs added it's probably still a little too early to attempt squashes and tomatoes. April is better for them. According to organicgardening, corn, the top 10 herbs to grow indoors are basil, bay, chervil, chives, oregano, pars- ley, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme. Diggs said late in April is a better time to plant them, so they're ready to move out to the arden by May or June. Diggs recommends plants for an indoor garden to include zinnias, snapdragons, cleome, sunflowers and nasturtium. Diggs said there's one key to whatever kicks off your indoor garden. "Know the last frost date for your area," she said. "The date varies by region. For example, Seattle is typically warmer than Is- saquah, so the last frost date is earlier than here." Typically, the back of the seed pack will help determine the date and so will geological surveys per- formed by each state. Typically, for Issaquah, it's from May 1-9; for Seattle, it's April 15. The next step is planting in the appropriate container. Diggs rec- ommends starting with something larger if you want to avoid re- planting indoors before heading outside as the plant grows. A milk carton is an ideal starting con- tainer. But a good standard, she said, is something that's 2-by-2- by-2 inches. Then, determine what to pack around the burgeoning plant. "Don't use garden dirt," she said. "You need a starting mix that is fluffy, that the roots can sprout through well." For this, Diggs recommends a potting mix of peat moss, vermicu- lite and perlite to create a light texture that won't compact after a couple of waterings. 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Finally, provide a light breeze or run your hand lightly through the leaves to build up the plant's har- diness. Diggs said that even with all of this care, don't simply perform the transplant without a transitional period. "I like to get them used to the outdoors before transplanting them to the garden for good," she said. "I place the plants for a cou- ple hours a day in the shade as a good start." She then gradually leaves them outside longer, including overnight stays, until they're ready for the fi- nal move. "Just read the back of seed packets or use Google, which out- lines most of these steps to get a good jumpstart on the season," she suggested. "If you provide a nice, controlled environment, you can get your indoor garden off to a good start." Reach Reporter David Hayes at 392-6434, ext. 237, or dhayes@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquah- press, com. Directions: Take Exit 17 Off 1-90. Go 3 1/2 miles South on Front Street. Open Mon- Sat 9-6, Sunday 11-5. Bare Root Trees plant now & save 20% Grow your own peaches, apples, cherries and more! All bare root trees are on sale and ready for planting now. See the wonderful selection of house plants in stock for a spring look inside your home. I 20% OFF* i I All Bare RootTrees I v _*w""_  ,w2.., ,2.:o.......v Our certified professionals will help you choose the perfect trees for your garden. Hayes -- Your Garden Inspiration -- www.hayesnursery.com 12504 Issaquah-Hobart Rd. SE, Issaquah (425) 391-4166 Express your J Benjamin Moore" paints. s5 OFF per gallon thru 3/22/09 Now available at A .. 10600 Main Street 2221440th Ave. NE 612-228th Ave. NE Bellevue Overlake, Evans Plaza Sammamish bySafeway 425-454-7509 425-641-7711 425-836-5484 Hours: Mon-Fri 7-6 Sat 94 Sun 104 Hours: Mon-Fri 7-6 Sat 94 Hours: Mon-Fri 7-6 Sat 9-4 Sun 10-4 0, Benjamin Moore & Co. Benin ,.ioore, the Gown dev, Rgal and the angte "M" symbol are regaled ,aderna. Licensed to BerawJn Moofo & Co. 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