January Gardening Prep in the Pacific Northwest

When January rolls around in the Pacific Northwest, our attention can be drawn to the rain, to wondering when the rain will yield to springtime sunshine, to recovery from the holidays, or to simply staying indoors, where it’s warm. While these endeavors can be useful, there’s also a lot to be done in and around the yard. So, grab your rain hat and don your muck boots, because we’ve got a few things for you to do outside.

  • When was the last time you got your lawn mower blades sharpened? Think about it. Have you ever got your lawn mower blades sharpened? Mowingwith a dull blade can create a ragged cut that quickly turns brown. Keeping your blade sharp can be one of the best ways to encourage a greener, fuller and healthier lawn. Best of all, you can do it yourself. We recommend the following:
    • You’ll want to remove the blade to sharpen it, but there are a couple of steps to take before that. First, remove the spark plug from the mower. You don’t want to accidentally bump the blade and force it into its power stroke, resulting in an injured hand. Then, look for the carburetor and air filter. Make sure the carburetor side is up when you tip the mower to get at the blade, otherwise, you might end up with a smoke cloud next time you start the engine.
    • The blade is usually held in place by a single bolt or nut. This can be extremely tight, so you might need to add a squirt of penetrating oil before you attempt to loosen it. Then, for leverage, use a breaker bar or socket wrench that fits the bolt. Pro tip: Before removing the blade, spray it with spray paint. This will enable you to return it to the correct position once it’s sharp.
    • We recommend using a hand file to sharpen the blade. Clamp the blade in a vise and follow the same angle as before, from the topside down. Don’t over-sharpen – once it’s “butter sharp” you can replace it on the mower.
    • Before replacing it on the mower, make sure and balance it. Simply hang it on a nail. If one side dips low, file more metal from that side until the blade hangs level.
    • If the blade is pitted, or lined, it might be time for a new blade.
    • If you’d rather not sharpen your mower’s blade, or would like some help with lawn mowing, give us a call at (360) 265-5231. Keeping client’s lawns trim and tidy is one of the things we do best.
  • If you’re certain the ground is thawed, plant bare-root roses, trees and shrubs. We’ve got a handy article to tell you how.
  • Start seeds indoors for your veggie or flower gardens. Obtain some “cell flats” which can be placed in solid trays. The trays will enable you to move the seedlings outdoors, when its time. And, the divided cell flats will make for easy separation of your seedlings.
  • Get out the hammer and nails and build some arbor boxes, containers for container plants, or window boxes. There are lots of articles and ideas online. Or, you can purchase instructional books at your local hardware or garden store.

We hope this gives you a few ideas. Happy gardening!