Mid-Atlantic

January, 2001
Regional Report

Sketch Map Your Garden Plan

While planning this summer\'s garden, take time to sketch it out on paper. A quick drawing made to a rough scale shows you how many plants you need and whether you have enough space for the plants you anticipate raising or purchasing. It is always easier to transplant with an eraser than with a shovel.

Consider Container Veggies

If you have limited garden space, consider growing a few vegetables in deck or patio containers this summer. A single, well-tended, half-barrel planter can easily hold a tomato plant surrounded by herbs such as basil, parsley, and chives and possibly some early greens such as spinach and lettuce as well.

Spray Fruit Trees

Contact your local county extension service for up-to-date recommendations on routine, preventive spray programs for homegrown fruit trees. One spray you can use is dormant oil. On warm winter days (above 40F), spray a dormant oil mixture on deciduous trees to smother overwintering insects and their eggs.

Stock Up on Seed Supplies

Obtain a fresh supply of your favorite soil-less seed-starting mix and make sure all of your seed-starting pots, trays, and tools are clean. Scrub off any leftover dirt using soapy water, rinse, then dip them in a solution of nine parts water to one part bleach and allow them to air dry. Make sure your seed-starting lights and timer work and that the bulbs are still bright.

Stratify Seeds

Many tree and shrub seeds as well as some perennial seeds need a cold period before they will germinate. The process of providing that cold period is called stratification, and here\'s how you do it: Place the seeds with some clean, barely damp peat moss or soilless potting mix in a small plastic bag. Seal it, label it, and chill it in the refrigerator for a few months. Open the bag periodically to allow for air exchange and to check for signs of swelling or germination- a sign they\'re ready to plant.

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