Middle South

January, 2007
Regional Report

Care for Amaryllis

With some care you can coax your amaryllis to bloom again next year. Cut back the flower stalk (but not the leaves) and continue watering and fertilizing the bulb. In summer, place the pot outdoors in a protected environment. In fall, bring it indoors and let the leaves die back and the bulb go dormant. In November, start watering again, and it may bloom again in the winter.

Recycle Christmas Tree

Many municipalities will chip old Christmas trees and allow residents to use the resulting mulch. Or you can prop the tree in the yard and hang suet or other birdfeeders from the branches. You'll be helping your feathered friends, and you'll be able to enjoy the show for months.

Test Seed Germination

Before placing your seed orders, do a germination test on stored seeds to see how viable they are. To do this, place 20 seeds between two sheets of moist paper towels and tuck into a loosely tied plastic bag. Place in a warm area, and check every few days. If germination is less than 80 percent, consider purchasing new seed of that crop.

Browse Cookbooks for Ideas

Winter days are perfect for browsing gardening magazines and catalogs, but don't forget to consult cookbooks, too, when choosing what plants to grow. Does that vichyssoise recipe sound inviting? You'll need leeks! Borscht? Beets! Roasted parsnip platter? Well, you get the idea. Expand your culinary and gardening horizons this year!

Start Seeds of Cool-Season Crops

Start seeds indoors of early-season crops, such as broccoli, cabbage, and kale. They'll need six to eight weeks to reach the proper size for transplanting outdoors in late February or early March.

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