Ask the gardening expert



What are some of the gardening things I can be doing now? I know it’s early, but I just can’t wait to get started.

I can understand that; we have had such amazing weather all winter. It surely feels as if spring should be here by now. I’m not sure we are finished with winter yet, but here are a few things you can get going on:

• Organize, clean and sharpen garden tools.

• Plan vegetable varieties and gather growing equipment. Decide on varieties of seed.

• Some gardeners plant onions this early. Others wait a bit. It’s your choice.

• If your soil is not too soggy, consider adding trees, shrubs or roses.

• Line up hummingbird feeders and get them out there — some hummers are on the move in February.

• Check stored bulbs. Remove any that have gone bad over the winter.

• Bring fuchsias out of storage and start them growing with water, light and warmth.

• Plant tuberous begonias in good light and warmth, but water sparingly until new growth begins.

• Bring branches of quince, forsythia and omalaria inside when buds begin to swell.

There are many little weeds all over my small garden plot. Should I leave them and plow them under in April or May when I ready the area for my vegetable garden, or spray them now?

There are any number of winter annual and perennial weeds that never miss an opportunity to overrun a bare spot.

I’m going to guess one very busy little weed is little bittercress. This is the one that shoots seeds in all directions when touched.

Don’t wait for them to come to seed stage, otherwise you will see many more next winter. Your best defense is to remove them now. The fewer weeds in the plot at spring prep time, the better.

I would suggest you not spray. Since it is a small plot, manual weeding will rid the area just fine, and it’s easy handwork.

Celeste Lindsay is a WSU-certified master gardener. Send questions to