Gardening Tips for the South Sound Washington region

While we look forward to the warm summer months to watch our garden’s bloom and produce, effective gardening is really a year around commitment.  We have compiled a list of year around reminders and tips that help insure your garden is ready to bloom.  Of course, it goes without saying that you can contact us at any time for questions or comments!

  • If you had a living Christmas tree for the holidays you will need to find a home outside…….It will be much happier!
  • Hellebores, Winter Blooming Heathers and Primroses are great options for winter color.
  • Continue to provide seed, suet and nectar to keep the bird population healthy
  • This is a great time to prepare your spring landscaping and to do your garden planning.
    (The Barn Nursery and Great Western Supply are always here to help!)
  • Weeding now can mean less work later.
  • Vegetable seeds will be coming in soon.
    (Please call to check the expected delivery date, for our inventory selection will be at its best.)
  • Sharpen your shears for winter pruning cold ground….remove leaves to clear room for them!


  • A good time of the year to scheme, dream and plan for your garden!!! Would you like a greenhouse to be an addition? We have them! Come see!!
  • Get a jump on spring by clearing your yard of winter debris. Rotting plants in the garden should be removed.
  • Sharpen those tools.
  • Start buying your seeds. The Barn Nursery specializes in seeds for the Northwest gardener.
  • Prune, prune, prune!!!! Your fruit trees and shrubs are waiting.
  • Use dormant spray on your roses, fruit trees and deciduous shrubs.
  • Come in soon and see our wonderful selection of bareroots….fruit trees, shrubs, berries etc!!
  • “Everything is coming up roses”…come see all the varieties!! Which will be your favorite?
  • Destroy those slimy slugs..the baby ones are hatching this time of the year.
  • Pull weeds before they seed.


  • March marks the beginning of the tree and shrub planting season. We have great availability.
  • The danger of the frost has maybe not past. Make sure to protect those tender plants.
  • Keep on eye on slugs and cutworms. Aphids like to make their appearance too. Monitor cranefly if you have had past damage.
  • March is a good time for first lawn feeding.
  • Spuds are here!!. Nothing beats fresh potatoes from the garden. Please call on their arrival. They sell out fast!
  • Divide Hostas, Daylilies, Mums, Peonies.
  • Prune Evergreens.
  • Try to pull weeds before they set seed.
  • Use a soil thermometer to determine soil temperature for planting.


  • Cultivate vegetable garden; add fertilizer, compost and lime.
  • Still time to plant peas, swiss chard, onions and potatoes directly in the ground.
  • Lawn care: mow, thatch, and apply fertilizer and lime.
  • Fertilize and prune shrubs, trees and roses, if not done already.
  • Divide and transplant summer blooming perennials.
  • Sharpen your garden tools.
  • Add manure or compost around Rhubarb, Gunnera & Artichokes.
  • Select and plant fruit trees and berry plants.
  • Start tomatoes, squash, basil, peppers and many other vegetables inside from seed.
  • Weed before they have time to seed!
  • Fertilize pond plants.


  • May is generally the first month recommended for planting outside most warm season vegetables.
  • If you started seed indoors or in a greenhouse it may be warm enough to acclimate them to outside temperature.
  • Plant now for summer parties and gatherings. This is now the annual planting season!!!
  • May is a great time to plant “woody” plants.
  • Feed your established tree and shrubs.
  • Roses are getting ready for their first bloom. Feed them and watch for pests.
  • Trim, shape and size established hedges.
  • Rhododendrons and other flowering evergreens can be pruned just after bloom.
  • Clean out pond if you haven’t already and check the pump.
  • Fertilize existing perennials if you haven’t done so yet. You may want to add a thin layer of compost on top of soil to suppress those darn weeds.
  • Get peonies and dahlias caged for good support as they grow.
  • Try to control the uncontrollable slug population and rapidly spreading aphids with insecticidal sprays and baits..many are safe for people and pets


  • Check your plants for garden insect pests that may be hiding.
  • Watch out for crane flies that may be active in your lawn.
  • Feed your roses and other flowering shrubs. (Remember… June is National Rose Month)
  • Watch out for fungal problems on your fruit, shrubs and trees.
  • In late June, pinch back Chrysanthemums and Asters.
  • Mulch well to conserve moisture, this will help keep the roots cool and reduce weeds.
  • Support growing Dahlias. Dead head Rhododendron’s.
  • Raise mower height.
  • Get yourself some new color with popping annuals and plant where color is needed.


  • Increase water especially for containers and hanging plants.
  • Have a support system for the taller growing perennials.
  • When you see signs of disease or pest problems, take care of as soon as possible.
  • Enjoy the roses that are in full bloom.
  • Visit Olympia’s Japanese Garden.
  • Start planning ahead for the fall garden.
  • Plant bare areas in the vegetable garden with cover crop.
  • Continue your plantings of salad crops.
  • Harvest often to keep plants productive.
  • Feed berry plants with liquid kelp or fish emulsion.
  • Direct sow cool season crops in late July.


  • Irrigation is an activity that may have to happen, even in the Northwest.
  • Do you need to spruce up your baskets, pots and flower beds with annuals?
  • Heat loving perennials are at their best.
  • Dormant summer lawns will recover.
  • Dead head roses and annuals regularly.
  • Standing water becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Make sure to check old tires, buckets, and any other object that might hold standing water.
Other August Special Dates:
  • August is National Peach month.
  • Great time to grill your fresh grown veggies on the barbecue!


  • As necessary, apply copper spray to peaches and cherry trees.
  • Control slugs as necessary by using the least toxic management options.
  • Heat loving perennials are at their best.
  • Divide Peonies and Iris.
  • Keep cutting Dahlias as they open.
  • Stake tall flowers to keep them from blowing over in fall winds.
  • Aerate lawns, apply an organic fertilizer, add lime and new grass seed if necessary.
  • Pick and store winter squash.


Other September Special Dates:
  • September is Honey Month.
  • Barn Customer Appreciation Day is in September.
  • Soil warmed by the sun and rains in fall are the best combination to plant anything.
  • Buy spring blooming bulbs.
  • Prune raspberry canes.
  • Plant garlic for harvesting next summer.
  • Plant onions and fava beans.
  • Remove and dispose of windfall apples that might be harboring apple maggot or codling moth larvae.


Other October Special Dates:
  • National Vegetarian Month – Eat your Vegetables!
  • “Adopt a Shelter Rescue Dog” Month
  • Carve a pumpkin…no surprise here!
  • Fall cleanup in the garden includes cutting back spent/finished flowers and raking leaves.
  • Apply dormant spray.
  • Consider pruning overly heavy limbs to prevent wind storm damage.
  • Start a compost pile.
  • Clean and oil garden tools before winter storage.


Other November Special Dates:
  • Aviation Month…visit our local aviation museum….
    Our neighbor located just down the road.
  • Happy Thanksgiving Day!
  • Winter time is a good time to prune most deciduous trees and shrubs.
  • Apply dormant spray in early winter.
  • Winterize garden tools before storing them by cleaning, sharpening and oiling.
  • Time to plant garlic to harvest next summer…last chance to plant spring bulbs.
  • Your empty garden beds can be mulched.
  • Use moss control in your lawn, it begins to encroach this time of year.
  • Protect young and tender plants…move to a protected area.
  • Dig, divide and store Dahlias.
  • Prepare roses for winter and mulch.
  • Plant and transplant shrubs and trees during these dormant months.


Download Printable Version

Click here to download our printable PDF calendar of gardening tasks.  Keep it with your gardening supplies so you’re always ready and call us any time you have questions!

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