Northern & Central Midwest

March, 2007
Regional Report

Make Attractive Plant Markers

Start making plant markers for the garden. Cut wooden stakes and sand them smooth. As you plant your seeds, save the seed packets. Glue the picture and name onto the stake and coat with decoupage coating (available at craft stores). When dry, coat with two coats of clear spray enamel.

Use Sphagnum Moss to Prevent Fungus

Avoid damping off as you start your seedlings indoors. Purchase milled sphagnum moss at the garden center or mill your own sphagnum in the blender. After planting the seeds and watering in, sprinkle the milled sphagnum over the surface. The moss has natural fungicidal properties to protect from fungal disease.

Be Ready for Asparagus Planting

Order asparagus for spring planting. As soon as soil can be worked in spring, dig a trench 12-18 inches wide and six inches deep. Space plant crowns 9 to 12 inches apart and spread the roots out with the crown buds pointing up. Cover with two inches and gradually fill the trench as the plants grow.

Prune Trees and Shrubs

Prune woody plants whenever you get a warmish day. Without leaves, the plants show their structure, making it easy to see the branching framework. Make sure to prune only what needs pruning - always have a reason for removing a branch. Make clean cuts back to a branch collar.

Purchase Onion Sets

Purchase onion sets as soon as they show up in the garden center to prevent them from sitting around in heated rooms. Store them in a cool, dry, dark spot until planting time. Divide them into larger sets for scallions and smaller sets for bulbing onions. Whites usually make the best scallions, and yellow and reds are best for storing.

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