Northern & Central Midwest

January, 2005
Regional Report

Get Your Cold Frame Ready

If you didn't leave the portable cold frame in the garden, get it ready for setting out in the spring. You never know when the weather will break and it will be time to get new lettuce started. Check seams, repair holes, and make sure you can fasten it down well so spring winds will not send it sailing.

Sharpen Tools

It may sound like dreary work, but sharpen your tools in the warmth of the basement. Put a nice edge on pruners, hoes, grass shears, and shovels; then coat the blades with a light coating of oil or petroleum jelly.

Get Seeds Ready for Spring Planting

Take stock of your seeds and plan what you need for this year's garden. Most garden centers have their seeds out by February, so buy early and beat the rush. Test old seeds for germination, or better yet, throw them away. That way you get to try new varieties!

Start Onions, Leeks, and Chives

Get onions, chives, and leeks ready for seeding in early February. These seeds don\'t keep well, so it\'s best to start with brand new seed. Make sure to use clean seed-starting mix, cover with milled sphagnum moss, and trim the tops of the seedlings regularly to keep them sturdy.

Force Garlic for Fresh Salads

Like fresh garlic in your salads? Plant sprouting cloves in groups of ten in small pots and place on a sunny windowsill. As the plants send up shoots, snip the light green tops and add the trimmings to salads for a taste of spring.

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