Mid-Atlantic

February, 2010
Regional Report

Choose Sunny Site For Your Veggie Garden

To fruit and flower, vegetables require from 3 to 6 hours sunlight each day. Read the seed packet for sun/shade requirements. Lettuce does well in part shade with fewer hours of direct light. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and beans produce their best in 6 or more hours of sunlight.

Plan Garden Location for Your Convenience

Choose a location that's easy to see and access and has a water source nearby. Build a kitchen garden near your kitchen - so you can walk outside to clip herbs and spring mix for lunch. Plant a vegetable garden, cutting garden, or perennial bed garden beside a path or walkway. Make it easy on yourself to weed, water, and harvest.

Grow Plants You Like

On first glance, the idea of growing our favorites seems obvious. We sometimes act out of old habits though, planting vegetables and annuals we're accustomed to but don't really want. Maybe you can relate. Do you really like zucchini or would you rather have yellow squash? Are you fond of pink cosmos but buy marigolds because they were in your mother's garden? Make a list of vegetables and annuals you REALLY like. Plant those first - generously. If there's room left, slip in the sentimentals and others.

Check Shrubs and Trees for Snow Damage

This winter we've had more snow more often than in many years. Our shrubs and trees have bent, sometimes broken, under the heavy weight. If you haven't pushed away snow loads and pulled out buried branches and trunks, now's the time. Remove broken branches. Make a clean pruning cut on the shrub or tree so the wound is smooth and will heal quickly. If there's a stub, use loppers or a pruning saw to remove it where it connects to the branch or trunk.

Get Ready for Indoor Seed Starting

Mid- to late March is seed-starting time indoors for long-season vegetables - tomatoes, eggplant, peppers. Rule of thumb is to start seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last expected spring frost date. Order or look for seeds and supplies - grow light, sterile soilless mix, planting containers, table, heat mat - now.

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