Mid-Atlantic

January, 2005
Regional Report

Stop Deer Damage

Spray-on deer repellents will usually work if used per the label directions, applied and reapplied as necessary. Or you can construct protective lattice or wire mesh cages for individual plants, or install perimeter fencing.

Order Seeds Now

It\'s time to send in those seed orders to assure prompt delivery and avoid those frustrating \"sold out\" replies. Many catalog suppliers also offer early-bird discounts, so order promptly to take advantage of those, too.

Reuse Pots

Many seed starters like to reuse plastic pots and cell packs. Discard any that are cracked or badly chipped. Scrub previously used containers free of dirt and plant residue, then soak in a solution of 10 percent bleach and water to sanitize them. Air dry and sort according to size, then store conveniently near the potting bench.

Improvise Containers

Recycled yogurt containers, milk jugs, plastic mushroom boxes, and the like can be used for seed starting and transplants. (I find the cells of egg cartons are too small and dry out too fast.) Wash and air dry, then add a drainage hole or two in the bottom.

Research Landscape Plants

If you expect to invest in planting trees and shrubs this spring, take a little time now to research your choices. Books and magazines and Web sites can be helpful starting points, and garden center staff will have more time to consult with you now than during the hectic spring rush.

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