Mid-Atlantic

February, 2010
Regional Report

Give Valentine's Seeds

Candy's dandy -- in the delicious moment. Love is forever. How about including seed packets of heart-friendly vegetable and romantic flower seeds in your sweetie's valentine's presents? A way to wish her or him beauty and good health -- this year, and the next, and the next.

Apply Dolomitic Limestone

If this wasn't on your fall "To Do" list and your soil is too acidic, it's fine now to apply dolomitic limestone to raise the alkalinity (the pH) of turf grass areas and ornamental beds. Follow directions on the bag for correct application method and amount. Dolomitic limestone [calcium magnesium carbonate CaMg(CO3)2] has calcium and magnesium, which are plant nutrients. If your soil already has too much calcium or magnesium, use wood ash instead, or ask your nursery professional for an alternative product.

Clean Air and Humidify with Houseplants

Plant leaves absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Our bodies use oxygen. Plants naturally clean the air; some absorb airborne toxins. They transpire, releasing water that increases humidity in our homes and offices, which is especially helpful to us in winter. English ivy, Boston fern, bamboo palm, dwarf date palm, Dracaena, peace lily, philodendron, and spider plant are among those shown to take toxins from the air. NASA recommends one large plant in every 100 ft. of space for effective air purification. Putting 2 inches of gravel on top of the soil will prevent mold growth. For more details, see http://www.wolvertonenvironmental.com/airFAQ.htm.

Veggie Garden -- Okay to Start Small

Growing your own fresh vegetables is such an excellent idea -- for good health, good exercise, good spirits, connecting with nature, peaceful moments. If it's your first time or you feel your garden has been overwhelming in seasons past, it's okay to go SMALL. Better to put effort into superior soil prep for a small area and mulch and tend it well and comfortably, than get frustrated digging, planting, then fighting off weeds in a large space.

Wash Houseplant Leaves

Dust and soot and such accumulate on plant leaves. For the plant's sake as well as for cleaner indoor air, gently wash off houseplant leaves (except for African violets and other plants with velvety leaves). Plants will look greener and healthier, too. Either spray leaves with water or moisten a soft cloth with water then wipe each glossy leaf -- top and bottom. Check the cloth often to see when you need to rinse it clean of dirt. This is a good opportunity to check for pests.

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