Middle South

January, 2008
Regional Report

Inventory Seed-Starting Supplies

Now is a good time to take inventory of your gardening supplies for this year's seed starting. Check quantities of potting soil, containers, labels, etc. Sterilize any used containers with a 10 percent bleach solution.

Water Fig Tree Carefully

If your indoor fig tree is starting to drop leaves, it may be due to your watering schedule. Don't overwater and don't let the tree stand in a saucer of water for an extended length of time or its roots may be damaged. On the other hand, don't let soil dry out completely either. Try to keep the soil evenly moist, watering thoroughly, then allowing the excess water to drain. Wait until the soil dries out slightly before watering again.

Caring for Poinsettias After the Holidays

You can still enjoy your poinsettia for weeks or months. Place the plant in the sunniest window in a cool (65 degrees F.) spot in the house. Keep it out of cold drafts, and water only when the soil is absolutely dry. Begin fertilizing again in spring.

Provide Supplemental Light for Houseplants

If your houseplants are growing tall and leggy, they probably need some supplemental light. Use fluorescent lights to help compensate for short days. Place the lights 4 to 6 inches above the tops of the plants, and keep them on for about 16 hours a day.

Start a Garden Calendar

Set aside a calendar for this year's garden. You can begin by noting your average last frost date and counting backwards to determine when to start different seeds. Come spring you'll find a calendar handy for keeping records on pest control, watering, and jotting down garden chores as they come to mind.

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