Western Mountains and High Plains

February, 2005
Regional Report

Create a Living Valentine Basket

For a long-lasting Valentine's Day gift, make a living garden basket. It's easy to make by combining small pots of foliage plants and flowering plants, such as African violets, begonias, cyclamen, kalanchoe, etc., in a wicker basket. Cover the tops of the pots with Spanish moss or sheet moss to hide the pots and give it a finished look.

Avoid Overwatering Houseplants

Be careful when watering your indoor plants. More die from overwatering than underwatering. Water plants only when they need it. Stick your finger into the potting soil 1 to 2 inches deep. If the soil feels damp, you don't need to water. Watering frequency will vary with types of houseplants, size and type of pot, proximity to heating vents, light conditions, and temperature in your home.

Store Garden Stuff in Plastic Containers

If you have open bags of potting soil lying around, fertilizer packages, peat moss, compost, etc., store them in sturdy plastic trash cans. This will shield them from moisture, prevent fertilizers from caking up, and keep potting soil clean. It also helps keep the garage or storage room neat and clean.

Don't Prune Too Early

Avoid the urge to prune grapevines too early in February. It's still winter, and early pruning can stimulate early bud growth during warm spells. Young and succulent growth is more vulnerable to spring frost damage. A stressed grapevine will yield less fruit and may succumb.

Water Your Outdoor Plants

Check the outdoor landscape, particularly the south, southwest, and western exposures. Lack of natural moisture can be fatal to plants if the roots succumb to drought stress. Drag out the hose and a "frog-eye" sprinkler, and do some winter watering on a warm day.

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