Northern & Central Midwest

January, 2013
Regional Report

Plan for De-Icing

Before throwing down an inexpensive de-icing salt, consider the damage it may do to plants and soil. If possible, use less damaging materials such as sand or cinders. Shovel as much as you can before spreading any deicing material. Try to avoid all salt-based deicing products in or around garden areas. For areas away from the garden, use potassium- or calcium-based products, which are less damaging.

Plant Fragrant Paperwhite Narcissus

Fill an attractive glass vase with stones and nestle paperwhite bulbs so that just the tips are exposed. Add water and watch the root growth begin. Keep the water just level with the roots to avoid rotting the bulbs. As the flower stems grow, have stakes handy in case they begin to flop. Enjoy the intoxicating fragrance!

Keep Bird Feeders Clean

Clean and disinfect bird feeders once or twice a month. Empty all the seed and scrub with a soft brush in warm soapy water. After rinsing, immerse the feeder for two or three minutes in a solution of one part liquid chlorine household bleach and nine parts warm water. Allow the feeder to air dry.

Keep Your Rosemary Alive

Keep your rosemary alive and providing fresh greens through the winter. Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean where it thrives in cold, dry winters. We tend to lose them when we bring them indoors because we give them too much water. So, a cool windowsill and a light watering hand are best.

Try Amaryllis Bulbs all Season Long

Stagger bringing amaryllis bulbs into the warmth every three weeks for beauty all spring. When bringing old bulbs into bloom again, remove about an inch of old potting mix from the pot and replace with new potting mix. Place in a sturdy saucer, set on a piece of leftover tile to protect the table, and begin watering. Turn the pot a quarter turn every time you water to keep the stalk straight. Keep a stake handy to prop up the heavy blossoms.

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