Northern & Central Midwest

January, 2004
Regional Report

Monitor Moisture on Houseplants

Houseplants may dry out more now than usual because of the intense heating we are giving our homes. Also, the sun is at a lower angle so west and south windows will be gaining more heat than in summer. Keep a careful eye out to avoid water stress.

Grow Garlic on your Windowsill

For a fresh addition to salads, grow onion and garlic plants to snip. Plant leftover sets or pull apart that garlic bulb that is sprouting. Plant the bulbs an inch deep in potting soil, water gently, and set in a sunny window. Before long you'll have luscious greens to snip.

Rev Up Those Power Tools

If you can stand the cold in the shed, this is a great time to do preventive maintenance on your power tools. Check spark plugs; sharpen blades; and change the oil on mowers, tillers, and chippers to get all those power beasts ready for the garden season.

Purchase Onion Seeds Now

If you plan to grow onions or leeks from seed, purchase fresh seed now (seeds only keep well about a year). Seeds need to be sown eight to ten weeks before your last frost. For most of us, that means in early to mid-February. As the seedlings grow, kept the tops trimmed to keep them sturdy.

Take Special Care of Your Amaryllis

Take care of your amaryllis after the flower display. Let flower stems fade before cutting them, and put the pot in a bright, warm spot out of direct sunlight. Water to keep the soil slightly moist. When the weather warms in spring, move the pot outdoors and fertilize it every two weeks.

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