New England

January, 2010
Regional Report

Make Cuttings of Geraniums

Geraniums that you brought indoors this winter are probably getting tall and leggy by now if they're not growing under artificial grow lights. Prune back errant branches and take 4- to 6-inch cuttings to root. Strip off the bottom set of leaves, dip the cut ends in rooting hormone powder, and stick the cuttings in a pot filled with moistened potting soil. Keep the soil moist, and they should root in a few weeks.

Check Stored Root Crops

Potatoes, onions, carrots, turnips, and other root crops that you have stored in your basement or root cellar should be checked regularly for signs of decay. Any vegetables that show any rotting should be removed and eaten (if possible) immediately so they don't spread the disease to other vegetables.

Recycle Holiday Greens in the Garden

When you're finished with holiday evergreen boughs, use them to mulch tender perennials and shrubs. They make a lightweight but insulating layer that helps protect plants from alternating temperatures like our typical January thaw followed by a deep freeze.

Avoid Damaging Plants with a 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. This isn't as much of a concern for plants wrapped with burlap.

Making a List and Checking it Twice

Start making your master list of varieties of annuals and perennials you'd like to grow next summer, as well as trees and shrubs you'd like to add to your landscape. Then winnow the list down to a manageable size. Otherwise, you may be tempted to make spontaneous purchases that won't fit well into your landscape plan or overrun your budget.

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