Northern & Central Midwest

February, 2002
Regional Report

Bring Blossoms Indoors

Cut stems of forsythia, cherry, flowering quince and pussy willow and force them into bloom. Make fresh cuts on the ends (no need to pound the ends) when arranging them in water and place in a well-lighted room. Change the water and snip the ends every few days to keep them fresh.

Start Saving Milk Jugs

Start saving plastic milk jugs or soda bottles with caps to make slow-feed waterers for tomatoes, peppers and squash next summer. Rinse and let them air dry. Punch holes in the bottoms. When you plant your warm season crops, bury a bottle up to its neck beside the plant stem.

Keep Checking Houseplants

They may be looking a little tired, but keep regularly checking houseplants for signs of disease or pest infestation. Keep up with the monthly showers or wiping with a dry clean cloth to take care of many pest problems. Don't start fertilizing until March unless a plant is showing signs of new spring growth.

Don't Throw Out the Aquarium Water

If you change the water in your aquarium, save it for houseplants. It contains plenty of essential nutrients that will give your houseplants a growing boost. Dilute it about half and half with plain water. Don't store the water, however - use it immediately or it will start to deteriorate.

Take Cuttings of your Cuttings

If you rooted cuttings of summer annuals, they are probably approaching a point where they need potting up and serious pinching. You can toss the tips or save the pinched tips and root them also. This will give you plenty of annuals to set out in the spring. Use sterile potting mix and clean pots.

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