February, 2012
Regional Report

Take a Reusable Fabric Bag When Shopping

It's environmentally good, conscientious (and European). Forgo the plastic and paper bags. Think reusable cotton or burlap or hemp bags when you shop. Paper bags produce methane when degrading in a landfill. Plastic bags don't biodegrade. They photo degrade, breaking down into small fragments that hold toxins that persist in the food chain.

Take Landscape Machines in for a Tuneup

The lawn mower, power tiller, power chain saw, power hedge clippers and other gas-powered yard and garden care machines will work better longer with proper, routine maintenance. Take them for service now. They'll be ready and back in your garage in time for spring chores.

Look for Signs of Spring

Yes, we haven't yet had the usual cold winter. We can still enjoy spring flowers and buds. Keep an eye open for white snowdrops, with their delicate bells on slim green stems. Large-flower, simple Galanthus elwesii are first to bloom. G. 'Fiore Pleno' is frilly and double-flowered. G. 'Sam Arnott' is honey-scented. Small G. nivalis is the most popular. Enjoy.

Put Boughs on Green Sprouting Daffies and Tulips

Winter's vacillating weather is likely confusing the plants as much as us. Green stem tips and the spring-flowering buds inside may be tricked into sprouting too early. To protect them from premature bloom, cover them with evergreen branches. Remove evergreen branches a week or two before the flowers' expected, normal bloom time.

Order Onion Plants

Last season the store-bought red, yellow and white onion sets I bought were disappointing. Maybe one percent grew. This year, I'm trying onion plants -- pre-started plants from Renee's Garden. There are three samplers specially selected for my day-length growing conditions. I'm ordering the Northern Rainbow Onion Sampler of long-day onions - Walla Walla, Red Ring, Wing Master. The Mid-Tier Rainbow Onion Sampler is for a narrow gardening belt south of Pennsylvania from East to West Coasts. The Southern Rainbow Sampler of short-day onions is custom selected for a broad range of southern states from coast to coast.

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