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Cultivating Communities Since 1973 

Issue: 7 April 2013
In This Issue
April Gardening Tips
Spring Salad Recipe
MGs at Your Service

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Cultivating Communities is sent periodically. This mailing list is not sold or used outside of the WSU Pierce County Extension Master Gardener Program.

It's hard to believe that spring seems to have officially arrived. The display of bright colors is so refreshing after winter. It's wonderful to see things beginning to flower, and grow again. 

I want to thank you for signing up for the
WSU Pierce County Extension Master Gardener Program periodic newsletter. Here you'll find gardening tips, seasonal recipes and discover where the Master Gardeners are near you. 'Tis the beginning of the gardening season, so there are plenty of plant diagnostic clinics gearing up.
You will also find the WSU Pierce County Master Gardeners at the Spring Fair, April 18th through the 21st in Puyallup. Propagation techniques and season-extension tools will be on display, and Master Gardeners will be there to answer your gardening questions. 
Master Gardeners are also available Monday through Friday 9am-3pm to answer your gardening questions at the Volunteer Office located in the PIerce County Community Connections building at 3602 Pacific Ave., Tacoma 98418. Our office is best accessed from the back of the building.

Hopefully, you have your peas in, your lettuce seed sown, and have started your tomatoes indoors. Now's also the time to pay special attention to your flower beds and lawn, too. There's a lot to do in the garden this time of year, so here are a few gardening tips to get you started.

Last, but not least, don't forget to join us on Facebook to get updates on activities Master Gardeners are participating in throughout the year. Remember, they are available to answer your horticulture and conservation questions. 
Happy Gardening!

Nicole Martini
WSU Pierce County
Master Gardener Program Coordinator
GardeningTipsApril Gardening Tips
Here are some helpful hints to keep your lawn, flowerbeds, and vegetable garden flourishing. 


In the Vegetable Garden
  • Now's the time to plant your spring (cool season) crops. Here's a list of things you can sow directly into the garden:
    • Carrot
    • Lettuce
    • Radish
    • Beet
    • Mesculin mixes
    • Endive
    • Peas (choose heat resistant varities)
    • Potato
    • Spinach
    • Swiss Chard
    • Turnip
    • Green Onion
  • These veggies should be started indoors under a grow light or in a sunny window:
    • Tomato
    • Leek
    • Pepper
    • Squash
    • Pumpkin
    • Cucumber
  • It's still too early to put tomatoes, peppers, beans and those other heat loving vegetables in the ground. Wait until mid-May when our temperatures really start to warm up.
  • It's not too late to build your raised beds, though. Be sure to get your soil from a trusted source and make sure you see the soil before you buy it or have it delivered.
  • Of course, there's always the consideration of how much of each crop to grow for your family, as well. The new WSU Extension Home Vegetable Gardening in Washinton publication will help you determine this and much more.
  • If it looks like we might get that random spring freeze, you might consider using row covers or cloches to keep your vegetables under cover for the night. 
  • Oh, and don't forget to fertilize those seedlings, including your peas!
  • We're fortunate that this time of year we don't have to worry too much about watering, but during those infrequent dry spells, be sure to provide consistent water for those seedlings.

Lawn Tips 

  • Dealing with some bare spots? Now's a good time to put down seed. Be sure it gets water several times a day, but avoid saturation. 
  • Look for these varities that are suited for W. Washington:
    • Perennial ryegrasses
    • Fescues
    • Bentgrass
  • Before you fertilize, it's a good idea to get your soil tested. This will help you know whether or not you need to add lime or potash and just what nutrients you need to support your new and/or existing lawn.
  • If you can, get a mix between a slow-release and fast-release fertilizer for maximum benefits.
  • Since it's been stored all winter, make sure your mower's blade is sharp. This will prevent splitting of the top of the leaf blades, which causes it to die-back and give your lawn an off-color appearance.
  • For more lawncare tips, check out Home Lawns, a WSU Extension Publication, which is free to download as a pdf.

General Landscaping Tips

  • Time to make sure those pruners are sharp and all your gardening tools are clean and ready to go.
  • Now's also a good time to refresh the mulch that has broken down over the winter. Wood chips are a good option because of the diversity of materials it contains. General rule of thumb is 4-6 inches.
  • You can always cut back any dead or over-lapping branches on your trees and shrubs, and if you haven't already, it's not too late to cut back some of your woody perennials. Just do this before the middle of the month, if possible. They'll thank you for it when the summer arrives.
  • Pansies and primroses will still perform fine for a couple of months, but you might want to just move on to the warm season annuals like petunias, calendula, zinnias and others. Just remember to provide protection if the temperatures look like they're going to drop below freezing.



Home Lawns Washington State University Extension, EB 0482 


Tool Care Washington State University Extension Snohomish County, Community Horticulture Fact Sheet #100


Starting Vegetables Washington State University Extension Pierce County Master Gardener Program, RS 006-2010


Home Vegetable Gardening Washington State University Extension, EM057E


Wood Chip Mulch: Landscape Boon or Bane? Washington State University Master Gardener Magazine Summer 2007

RecipeSeasonal Recipe

Spring Salad

WSU Extension

Farmers Market Program



2 teaspoons canola oil

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt



1/4 cup roasted unsalted peanuts   

3 cups spinach or salad greens

1/8 cup red onion, finely sliced

2 to 4 radishes, thinly sliced


1. Combine dressing ingredients.
2. Wash and dry spinach or
lettuce and tear into bite-size
3. Add onion, radishes, and
peanuts to spinach or lettuce.
4. Pour as much dressing over
salad as desired and toss

MGsatEventsBring Your Gardening Questions to the WSU Pierce County Master Gardener Volunteer Office 

Master Gardeners are available to answer your gardening questions from 9am to 3pm Monday through Friday at the WSU Pierce County Extension Office (located in the Pierce County Commuity Connections building at 3602 Pacific Ave. Tacoma, WA 98418). You can also give them a call at 253-798-7170 or send them an email at They're standing by to help you figure out what's bugging your garden and would love to hear from you.

WSU Pierce County Master Gardeners support food security and water quality through educating Pierce County residents in sustainable gardening practices. We look forward to answering your gardening and conservation questions.
Happy Gardening,  

Nicole Martini

WSU Pierce County Extension

Master Gardener Program

Extension programs and employment are available to all without discrimination.  Evidence of noncompliance may be reported through your local Extension office.