Northern & Central Midwest

February, 2007
Regional Report

Start Onions

Time to start onions and garlic. Sow seeds of onions, chives, and garlic chives in pots or flats. When they emerge, keep the foliage cut back to about 4 inches to create stocky plants. Use the clippings for salads. Plant garlic bulbs, and as they begin to grow, snip the foliage for seasoning.

Build Your Hardscape

Start basement projects like cold frames, trellises, arbors, and benches. A great makeshift but functional cold frame can be constructed with a few bales of straw and a wooden storm window. Watch giveaway columns in the newspaper for old windows. Be sure to vent heat on sunny days and close it up tight before sundown.

Clean Houseplants

Remove built-up dust and grime from the leaves of small houseplants with a shower. Wipe large leaves by hand with a soft clean cloth or gloves, keeping one hand on the upper surface and one below. Water cleans and shines the leaves and doesn't clog the leaf pores like commercial leaf polish.

Start Kids Gardening

To prime your children for gardening this spring, start them off with simple projects like a simple tray of grass for Easter baskets, a basket of oat grass for pet cats to enjoy, or a bowl of lettuces. These are quick and easy to get started, and fun for kids.

Start Plants for Mother's Day

Mother's day will be here before we know it, so start your cuttings or bulb forcing now. Small bulbs, such as crocuses, grape hyacinths, and scillas, need eight weeks of cold. Larger bulbs need 12 to 14 weeks. Cuttings of coleus, ivies, and other houseplants need a couple of months to form full plants.

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