Northern & Central Midwest

December, 2003
Regional Report

Increase Humidity for Healthy Houseplants

Make sure houseplants get the humidity they need in this dry heating season. Keep them away from drafts and heat sources that remove water vapor. Raise pots onto trays or saucers filled with wet pebbles. Group plants to keep moisture from evaporating so quickly.

Keep Salt from Damaging Plants

Prevent salt damage to landscape plants by using products such as calcium chloride rather than sodium chloride. Shovel or plow before salting and then apply only the amount of salt needed to melt the ice. Mix salt with sand for extra traction. Pile snow carefully to avoid damaging plants.

Get Rid of Pantry Moths

Pantry moths can come home in infested food packages, including dry pet food and bird seed. When you find the moths or maggots (small white worms), remove and inspect all open and unopened food in the cupboard. Discard any infested packages, vacuum shelves, and wash with soapy water. Store food in airtight containers.

Healthy Poinsettias are a Must

Keep your poinsettia happy by removing the decorative foil wrap to prevent buildup of water. Put the plant in a saucer and let the soil surface dry slightly before watering. Keep the plant out of warm or cold drafts, and put it in an area where it will stay cool (around 60 to 68 degrees).

Homemade Suet Cakes Keep the Birds Happy

Make your own suet cakes. Combine one part peanut butter, two parts bird seed, five parts cornmeal, and one part melted beef suet. Suet is available from the meat counter at the grocery store. Press the mixture into muffin tins, let harden, and place in net bags in trees.

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