Middle South

January, 2009
Regional Report

Grow Under Fluorescents

An indoor light garden will allow you to grow all sorts of indoor plants. You can rig one up yourself by suspending a fluorescent light over a waterproof tray. Or, you can purchase light garden units that are attractive enough for the living room.

Protect Plants from Snowblower

When you are clearing your driveway with a snowblower this winter, direct the snow away from plants. Otherwise, the blowing ice crystals may damage the tender bark of young trees and shrubs. Or, alternatively, protect plants with a wrapping of burlap.

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.

Treat Plants for Fungus Gnats

If you've noticed tiny black "fruit flies" in your house, it's possible your houseplants have fungus gnats. Though annoying when they flit about, the 1/8-inch-long adult insects are harmless. Their tiny, worm-like larva live in moist soil and also cause little or no damage to plants. To control them, allow soil to dry out between waterings, use sticky traps, or drench soil with a biological control, such as Gnatrol.

Check Houseplants for Thrips

If your holiday flowers and foliage have white streaks on them, your plants may have thrips. These tiny, straw-colored insects feed by sucking the plant juices, causing the discoloration. If you see signs of thrips, begin spraying plants with insecticidal soap every three days for about two weeks.

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