Mid-Atlantic

January, 2010
Regional Report

Relax and Peruse Gardening Magazines

Extra Long Dancer Snake (melon), Vidrine's Midget Cowhorn (okra), Thai Red Papaya, Chichiquelite Huckleberry, Cannibal Tomato. Who knew they exist? Well, maybe heirloom plant officiandos. They popped into my imagination via a magazine with tantalizing pictures and descriptions. Take a few moments, put your feet up, and savor. Another great aspect. You can flip through and "sample" only your favorites for 5 or 10 minutes or indulge in a multi-course, faux banquet for the evening.

Arrange to Share Seeds

Most seed packets contain far more seeds than the average gardener has room for. Do you really need 25 zucchini plants? As you talk with friends about their gardening plans, suggest buying and sharing seeds together. Make a quick list of your favorites and new varieties of veggies and flowers you'd like to try. Simply writing plant names will help them come to mind quickly -- like when you chat with your neighbors at the post office.

Disinfect Last Year's Seed-Starting Materials

If you're like me, you likely have favorite, tried-and-true, seed-starting devices you use year after year. I have (too few) small, white, deep, cell packs with their own plastic domes and reservoir trays. Not all were thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before I put them away last summer. When I'm garden-restless this month, I'll unbox them, wash with soap then disinfect (10% bleach/90% water). That way they'll be ready for tithonia and other cutting garden flower seeds in early spring.

Fix Stone Walls, Garden Paths, and Ponds

Warm winter days beckon us outside but it's best not to walk on or fuss in a garden with wet soil. Sunny, comfortable days are great opportunities to do repairs on stone walls, garden paths, ponds and other hardscape maintenance projects that can be difficult to fit in during the busy gardening season.

Enjoy an Art, Horticulture, Cooking, Dance Class -- Before Garden Season Starts

While you have the time and to keep spirits up in this cold winter, learn something new. Something that makes you smile, that engages you. Could be a one-day container gardening class or six evenings of folk dancing. Stretch yourself. Give yourself the opportunity to enjoy and be with others who are having fun.

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