Mid-Atlantic

January, 2009
Regional Report

Plan For Veggies in Your Flower Garden

Rainbow Swiss chard, red lettuces, purple and yellow bush beans, tepees of Painted Lady runner beans, and chartreuse-spired Veronica broccoli are visually fascinating, ornamental, AND nutritious. Enjoy fresh veggies and more $ in your pocket. Design your flower garden to include borders of edible greens, clusters of brassica, and towers of tasty pods in sunny spots.

Check, Clean, Sharpen, and Oil Tools

Spring always catches me short on time and long on garden chores. While the weather's chilly, I'm checking tools for wear and repair. Pruners, loppers, shovels, and spades go to the hardware store for sharpening. Wiping blades and handles clean and oiling moving parts and wooden handles follows.

Replant Rootbound Indoor Plants

Winter came on too quickly for me to repot my jasmine, aloe vera, and sweet bay plants before bringing them indoors. They were so rootbound, water was quickly running out the bottom holes -- leaving the massed roots dry. I cut from 2 to 3 inches of root and soil from the sides and the bottom of each plant, then gently teased out the remaining roots. Using the same pots (washed and dried), I put enriched potting soil in the bottom, placed each root ball in the middle, and spooned potting soil around the sides. The soil level dropped when I watered so I added more soil around the edges and watered again. The jasmine's ready to bloom and its neighbors on the windowsill aren't drying out as quickly as before.

Reapply Deer-Repellent Sprays and Materials

Most all deer-repellent sprays, scents, pouches, and granules will need to be reapplied to shrubs and trees. They've worn off with time and weather. There's also less greenery available for deer that will soon be browsing with spring hunger.

Have a Family Powwow About More Greening and Recycling

What might you and your family do this year to save energy, reduce trash, cut back on fuel use, grow more veggies and fruits, and support local growers and businesses? A family brainstorming session -- over dinner or hot cocoa -- could bring some surprising suggestions to mind. One idea leads to another to another. With worm farming, composting, and conscientiously taking recyclables to the Pottstown recycling center, I've reduced "trash" to one small bag every week or two. Imagine what a family could do with everyone contributing to a "green" life style.

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