Time to get those peas pre-sprouted and ready to go | THE COMPLEAT HOME GARDENER

It is still too early to plant other cool-season crops like lettuce unless you have a hoop house or cold frame that protects new seedlings from the weather.

Marianne Binetti will be speaking at the Northwest Flower and Garden show at 4:15 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, on “Weed Wars: An American Revolution on how to win the battle with weeds without harming Mother Nature.”

The Northwest Flower and Garden Show kicks off spring at the Seattle Convention Center Feb 17-21. A new event at the show is a live competition between teams building an instant garden.

“Garden Wars” will bring peace to local charities at 1 p.m. every day of the show. You can learn a lot about gardening in a very short time by cheering on local celebrities as they compete on either side of a screen to create the best garden. The winning team will be awarded $1,000 for their favorite charity (the loser wins money, too) but as the garden war consultant for the contestants, it is my job to make sure everyone in the viewing audience gains design inspiration and some new plant knowledge just by watching the battle.

For me, the best part of this competition is that I’ll also be giving away door prizes to audience members – from nursery gift certificates to cool garden tools. You may go home with a prize just for cheering on your favorite celebrity. Let the garden battle begin!

The middle of February is time for early bird gardeners to start peas. Sweet peas and garden peas should be pre-sprouted by soaking them overnight in warm water. In the morning, spread the pea seeds on a cookie sheet between layers of damp paper towels. When the seeds sprout you can bury them in well-drained soil following the instructions on the seed pack.

It is still too early to plant other cool-season crops like lettuce unless you have a hoop house or cold frame that protects new seedlings from the weather.

Slugs and snails will be emerging from winter slumber this week so be sure to protect any new seedlings or primroses you set out into the garden.

Q. I have a hydrangea shrub that blooms beautifully in the summer with balls of blue flowers. Unfortunately, it has grown too large for the spot next to the house where it is thriving. Can I prune my hydrangea back now for a more compact plant this summer? R.P., Tacoma

A. The easy answer is no. Huge hydrangeas cannot be kept dwarf and compact by pruning. Hard pruning can prevent flowers the following summer. The better solution is to transplant that hydrangea this spring to a spot where it can spread out its branches and bloom year after year with no pruning required. There are new hydrangea hybrids that are more compact (look for the Cityline series like “Rio”) and also hydrangeas like the “Endless Summer” varieties that flower on both old and new wood so they can handle a haircut every spring.

Better to move a shrub to a new location than to fight Mother Nature and control the size of a woody plant determined to spread and grow. Early spring is a good time to snip off the faded blooms of last year’s hydrangea flowers and to thin out any wayward or broken branches.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@rentonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.rentonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Life

Founder and co-owner of Red Tea Room Donna Wong puts the finishing touch on their most popular dessert— Lemon Meringue Glacée. Photo by Haley Ausbun.
Renton catering company pivots during pandemic

The Red Tea Room Catering’s move to takeout helped keep the company going— and get closer to neighbors

Courtesy of Lindbergh High School.
Congrats to the Class of 2020— virtual ceremony June 15

Students were also celebrated using walk-up ceremonies at Renton High School, Lindbergh High School, Hazen High School and Talley Sr. High School

TLG Motion Pictures CEO Erik Bernard and TLG founder Courtney LeMarco on a set. Photo courtesy TLG Motion Pictures.
Local production company seeking film, TV pitches from young minority creatives

The Big Pitch competition, put on by TLG Motion Pictures (“Hoarders”), started about six months ago.

Photo by Haley Ausbun
                                A woman checks out jars of honey and jam at the Renton Farmers Market in 2018. This year social distancing guidelines are changing the look of the market.
Renton Farmers Market is back June 9

The 19th season of the market will look a little different due to social distancing guidelines

Relay for Life of South King County moves online

American Cancer Society donations to be taken during May 30 virtual gathering

Auburn Symphony Orchestra announces 2020-21 season

Begins with Summer Series scheduled to start June 21

Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals offer support to first responders, local businesses

The initiative provides hearty lunches to first responders staffing the COVID-19 testing sites as they work to test their colleagues.

‘Don’t assume it can’t happen to you’

Federal Way resident Evelyn Allcorn shares story of her husband’s battle with COVID-19 after he tested positive on March 28.

Auburn dance studio finds creative solutions to keep going during COVID-19

Pacific Ballroom Dance moves to online classes; group returned home early from national competition

Photo by Haley Ausbun
                                Boon Boona Coffee in downtown Renton is well-known for its large cafe space, but owner Efrem Fesaha has found a creative way to keep people to to-go orders only, putting a table right at the door. The order from the Governor hasn’t been easy for small businesses in Renton, and many are just taking it day to day and hoping for financial relief from local and regional leaders.
Renton communities reach out during shut-in

Local organizations, volunteers and businesses try to make the best of quarantine

Renton and AARP team up for seniors

New fitness park to funded and will open late in the summer

Schindler’s legacy bounces along at Baden

CEO of Baden Sports died unexpectedly in February