New England

March, 2007
Regional Report

Get Pruning Tools Ready

Before the main pruning season starts, take apart hand pruners and shears, sharpen the blades, oil the levers, and remove any rust. Pruning trees will go much faster and be easier on your hands when you use sharp, well-maintained equipment.

Plan Schedule for Indoor Seed Starting

Check seed packets for recommendations, then plot out planting times for seeds you'll be starting indoors. Don't try to get a jump on the season by planting earlier; larger plants are more easily stunted than smaller ones and won't necessarily grow faster once they're transplanted outdoors.

Trim Leeks

If you started leeks indoors, they are probably getting pretty tall by now. Trim them back to about 2 inches in height, so they don't get spindly and fall over. Like grasses, leeks grow from near the soil line rather than from the top, so you won't harm the growing point by trimming them back.

Begin Fertilizing Houseplants

Now that the days are getting longer, your houseplants will be resuming vigorous growth, so begin fertilizing with a soluble fertilizer. A seaweed/fish emulsion blend is a good choice -- but look for one labeled as "no odor" to avoid the usual pungent smell. You can fertilize monthly at the label's recommended dilution rate, or fertilize every time you water using a quarter-strength mix.

Sterilize Seed-Starting Trays

Dig out seed-starting trays and pots and wash them in soapy water. Then, in a bucket or work sink, sterilize them in a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water. This will help prevent disease organisms from ravaging your seedlings.

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