Use Hotbeds and Cold Frames for Starting Annuals
If you plan on starting your own flower and vegetable transplants this spring, you will need a spot to give them a head start and/or harden them off (also called conditioning or acclimating them to the weather). You may also want to get them growing outside as early in the season as possible. For the best quality plants, cold frames and hotbeds (electrically heated or heated by the traditional hot manure method) are the way to go. You'll find detailed plans for building them on this University of Maryland site: Hotbeds and Cold Frames for Starting Annual Plants.
Open Days Directory: National and Regional Editions
The Garden Conservancy's Open Days Directory; 2004 Edition (Harry N. Abrams, 2003; $15.95, or $10.95 for Garden Conservancy members) is now available. New for this year are 2004 Open Days regional directories -- Northeast, South, Midwest, and West. Each paperback includes detailed driving directions and vivid descriptions of each garden written by the owners. The cost of the regional editions is $5.00 each. For credit card orders, call the Garden Conservancy toll-free at (800) 842-2442, or send a check or money order to: the Garden Conservancy, P.O. Box 219, Cold Spring, NY 10516. Consult the Conservancy's Web site for more information about the program: http://www.gardenconservancy.org/index.html