New England

February, 2013
Regional Report

Start Onion Seeds

Start seeds of onions eight to ten weeks before before the last frost date in your area. Sow seeds thinly in flats of sterile germinating mix. Once seeds have sprouted, transplant or thin to half to one inch apart and give seedlings bright light and cool (60-65 degrees F) temperatures. Trim tops back to 3-4 inches with scissors if they get droopy. Plant hardened off seedlings in the garden two to four weeks before the last frost date, spacing 4 inches apart for large bulbs; 1 inch apart for scallions.

Prune Grape Vines

Prune grape vines in late winter or early spring (late February through early April in our region) when they are still dormant to prevent the vines from "bleeding" or leaking lots of sap. This doesn't harm the vine, but it's messy.

Prevent Damping-Off

Damping-off is a fungal disease that can wipe out a planting of seedlings almost overnight. Prevent this problem by santizing all containers and tools with a 10 percent bleach solution before use; using a sterile soilless germinating mix; sowing seeds thinly so that seedlings aren't crowded; removing any covers from containers as soon as seeds begin to germinate; and using a small fan to increase air circulation around seedlings. Covering the surface of the germinating medium with a thin layer of milled sphagnum moss after seeds are planted also helps prevent damping off from getting a toehold.

Repot Houseplants

As the days begin to lengthen and the sunlight gets a stronger, houseplants begin to grow actively again. This is a good time to repot ones that have become crowded in their pots. Signs of a plant in need of repotting include roots poking out the drainage holes; the need for frequent watering because the pot is filled with a mass of roots; and poor growth.

Start Foxglove Seeds

For bloom the first year from seed, grow the Camelot series of foxglove (Digitalis purpurea). This F1 hybrid series produces 42-48 inch tall spires of blooms in shades of rose, cream, lavender, and white. Start seeds indoors 10-12 weeks before the last spring frost date. Sow seeds on the surface; they need light for germination. Seeds take 14-21 days to germinate. Hardened-off seedlings can go into the outdoor garden 2 -3 weeks before the last frost date.

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