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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spring paves way for green thumbs

Billie Martin Correspondent

I think spring has sprung. Though, after this winter, my paranoia still hangs on and I look out the window every morning, just hoping there’s none of the white stuff on the ground. Since the snow melted slowly, the ground has thawed nicely. I actually cleaned up my garden and did the first tilling last week.

Gardens, lawns and landscape are some of the most prevalent spring chores on many of our minds this time of year. We still have some piles of snow next to our buildings, but most of the lawn is snow-free and the bulb plants are sprouting. It’s time for dormant spraying, and Big John’s Spraying and Landscaping is the premier company in the Elk area for those needs. For you do-it-yourselfers who have some big landscape projects planned and you don’t have the big equipment to do it, there are two equipment rentals in the Elk-Chattaroy area. In the south end is Chattaroy Rental on Chattaroy Road, just off of Highway 2. They also specialize in equipment repairs. Up north, at 39515 N. Newport Highway (aka Highway 2), is All Around Rentals. All Around also offers propane and Half Moon Feed products for sale and houses Sundown Video Rental. If you need a little help or advice about gardens and plants, the Master Gardener groups are active and accessible in our northern, rural area. The Elk-Camden Garden Club meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Camden Grange. Members share some delicious snacks and lots of garden-related banter, have informative demonstrations and discussions and plan garden tours. New members and the general public are always welcome.

The Master Gardeners in the Deer Park area will be holding plant clinics and classes several Saturdays in April and May from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Deer Park Library conference room. They will be covering subjects such as native plants and wildlife, soils and basic gardening and raised-bed gardens. Call Janet Smith at 276-9870 for information or to register.

If you are interested in further education about gardening, landscaping or plants, there are more classes this spring and summer at the Newport College Center and through the WSU Pend Oreille County Extension. The Newport College Center is at 1204 W. Fifth St. in Newport, and the college office number for information, schedules or registration is (509) 447-3835 or (888) 323-2399. To check out the spring class and clinic schedules or for other information about the WSU Pend Oreille County Extension and Master Gardeners, see the Web site at or call (509) 447-2401.

Are you interested in growing your own food, but you do not have the space for a garden or maybe the time to devote to all of the watering and care? There is a new, option available for you in Elk. Country Garden Farms, 40101 N. Newport Highway, just north of Elk-to-Highway Road, is opening a new farmers’ market. They will have garden space available complete with convenient irrigation, plenty of rich compost and the use of a rototiller for tenants. There is also retail-table space available if you want to make a little extra income from your garden products. Not to worry – the whole operation is inside a 6-foot deer fence.

Most of us are too impatient to wait for all of our plants to bloom and just have to buy a few that are already big and beautiful. The Riverside High School greenhouse plant sale will take place on Saturday, May 9, starting at 7:30 a.m. Everything is usually gone by 11 or 11:30, so get there early.

The ROC horticulture and functional job skills classes work hard to have a wide variety of patio pots, hanging baskets, deck and window planters ready before Mother’s Day (May 10). Also available for purchase are tomatoes, peppers and a variety of other vegetable plants. They will also offer shrubs, shade trees and fruit trees this year. The greenhouse is on the south side of the high school by the water towers off Newport Highway.

This year’s WSU Pend Oreille County Master Gardener plant sale will be held on April 25 at the Stratton Elementary School gymnasium, 1201 W. Fifth St., in Newport. Doors open at 9 a.m. and the sale continues until the plants are sold out or noon, whichever comes first. Proceeds go to fund plant clinics, garden tours, the water-wise garden at CREATE and the Food Sense Schoolyard Programs at the elementary schools. The Master Gardeners also fund a $1,000 scholarship offered to students pursuing careers in horticulture or related fields.

One other fun place to get some plants or garden tools is at the Camden Grange 6th annual Pancake Feed and Auction on Saturday. Breakfast is from 8 to 10 a.m. and the auction starts at 10 a.m. Auction items include electronics, housewares, machinery, tools, building materials, antiques, garden plants and homemade breads. There are flea-market spaces available if you or your group want to sell crafts, plants or gently used items. Consignment items for auction may be dropped off on Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Camden Grange, three miles north of Elk on Elk-Camden Road. For information, call (509) 292-2492.

Contact correspondent Billie Martin by e-mail at
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