Middle South

December, 2003
Regional Report

Dump Out Flowerpots

Dump the old soil from flowerpots into a plastic bin and then store the containers in a place where they won\'t blow away or freeze. In spring, use the old potting soil to cover direct-sown seeds since it doesn\'t form a crust that inhibits germination.

Pre-Warm Freesias

Fragrant freesias are wonderful blooming houseplants to grow in early spring, but the little tubers sprout best if they are kept in a warm spot for a few weeks first. To condition them, plant the dormant tubers in dry potting soil, and keep the pot on top of your refrigerator or hot water heater for a month.

Check Soil pH

Before you make plans to lime your lawn and garden, take the time to check the soil's pH. Cultivated garden soil that's nicely amended with organic matter often doesn't need as much lime as lawns that are rarely dug. Of course, soil that is not naturally acidic needs no lime at all.

Create Funky Feeders

During the worst part of winter, I enjoy putting bird feeders all around my house, so that every window looks out on a bird breakfast area. Making funky feeders is fun, too. I like to drill holes into pieces of wood and stuff the holes with suet or peanut butter. These can be hung from tree branches or tied to the top of a chain link fence.

Bring Forced Bulbs Inside

As soon as you pack away your Christmas decorations, begin bringing in containers that you planted with bulbs last fall. Keep them in a cool room and watch for the first green shoots to appear. Most bulbs bloom three to five weeks after being brought indoors.

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