Middle South

January, 2004
Regional Report

Aerate Houseplants

If the soil in houseplant containers seems hard and compacted, use an ice pick or slender wooden skewer to poke holes that will help roots get a better supply of both water and air.

Check on Half-Hardy Plants

If you stashed a scented geranium in your basement or brugmansia stems in your pump house, check to make sure they have not dried out completely. Provide just enough water to keep them alive, but not so much that they will think it's time to start growing again.

Start a Garden Calendar

Set aside an extra wall calendar to use for this year\'s garden record-keeping. You can go ahead and mark dates when you plan to do important things, such as starting tomato seeds or pruning your roses.

Order Onions

Chives, scallions, and other onions grown from seed can be sown indoors this month, but it's best to start with fresh seed. Old seeds may not germinate, so check them by sprouting a few in a jar, just like alfalfa sprouts. Add the sprouts to salads, sandwiches, or stir-fries.

Blanket Beds

Continue to blanket beds with weathered manure, compost, or other types of organic matter. Rotted hay is wonderful and often can be had for the hauling. Left to slowly decompose on the soil's surface, the brown blankets will become a haven for earthworms by early spring.

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