Mid-Atlantic

February, 2004
Regional Report

Test Drive Old Seeds

If you plan to sow older seeds packaged for previous years, test them now for viability. Fold about ten seeds in a damp paper towel, enclose in plastic wrap, and set in a warm location out of direct sun. Check daily, determine the germination percentage, and adjust your seeding rate accordingly.

Pruning Trees in Winter

Winter tree pruning can be done while the plants are still dormant, but temperatures should be above freezing when you prune. For extensive cutting or removal work, or if ladders are involved, you probably should consider calling in a professionally trained and certified arborist. This is safer for the tree -- and for you.

Provide Light for Seedlings

If you are starting seeds indoors, keep in mind that brighter is better for seedling health. Once germination occurs, provide ample light for the seedlings. Usually, the light on a windowsill is not enough. Try ordinary fluorescent shop lights instead. Keep the plant tips a few inches from the bulbs.

Repot Houseplants

Spring is a good time to repot houseplants or refurbish their soil. Try to match the original soil mix formula. Move up just one pot size at a time. For a mature plant that will remain in the same pot, gently remove the top inch of soil and replace it with fresh soil; you could also pruning the roots to encourage new root growth.

Plan That New Garden

If you are new to gardening and/or want to start a new garden area, start planning now. You will need to run soil tests and wait for the results, prepare the area and add soil amendments as indicated by the soil tests, and then decide what to plant.

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