New England

February, 2006
Regional Report

Give Fragrant Bouquets to Your Valentine

Although roses are considered the classic for a Valentine's Day bouquet, many long-stemmed roses have little or no fragrance. Instead of roses, consider fragrant flowers, such as freesias, tuberose, or Oriental lilies (especially white 'Casablanca' or pink 'Stargazer'). These long-lasting flowers are not only beautiful, they will also perfume the room with their heady fragrance.

Sow Onions

Long-season alliums, such as leeks and onions, can be started from seed now. Unlike the quickly growing broccoli and tomatoes, onions need 10 to 12 weeks of growth indoors before they go in the garden. Sprinkle the seed on top of seed-starting mix, keep it moist, and as soon as the seedlings emerge, place the flats under grow lights so they grow strong.

Plan New Gardens

If you keep any kind of gardening journal, dig it out now and refresh your memory about what worked and what didn't work last year. Read notes you took at garden visits and gardening workshops to give you ideas of plants and techniques you may want to try this year. If you don't have a gardening journal, just designate a small notebook as a place to collect your thoughts and wish lists.

Save Milk Jugs

Empty clear plastic milk jugs make handy mini greenhouses for seedlings that you want to plant early. Rinse them out and cut off the bottoms and stack them until spring.

Organize Seeds

Go through your seed packets and group the ones that you'll be sowing indoors according to sowing dates. For example, place all those that need to be sown 12 weeks ahead of transplanting in one bag, those that need to be sown 10 weeks in another, etc. Mark on your calendar those key dates.

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