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February 14, 2007

Good News, Bad News...
The good news first. We got some rain. And now for the bad news - for those of us who are tired of the cold and snow, we received about four inches and the temperatures aren't climbing out of the teens for the next few days. UGH! I guess we should be glad we don't live in upstate New York. They are bracing for another 20 inches on the already accumulated 10 feet or more. Now that is a lot of snow! I will graciously accept our four inches and try really hard not to complain too loudly. On the bright side the temperatures are suppose to soar into the 50's next week. I can't wait!

I have noticed that quite a few boxwoods around our area (some in my own front yard) are turning a yellow-bronze like color. A couple of the most common types of boxwoods planted in our area are Green Mountain and Winter Gem. Don't despair. The plant is probably desiccated and dehydrated from all of the cold weather we have been experiencing. Winter began dry and unfortunately for a lot of evergreens they are really starting to show the effects of this nasty Midwest winter. Once it starts to warm up and we start receiving those much needed spring showers most boxwoods should bounce back. Keep and eye on your evergreens. If it starts to warm up get out the hose and give them a good slow, soaking drink. It may take a while for you to see some change but be patient. It has been a tough winter on everyone, even our plants.

~ Shelly  

Snow Strategy...
So, we have about 3-5 inches of snow on the ground at the moment.  Use the white stuff to your garden's advantage by strategically shoveling it where moisture is needed most.  Because it releases moisture slowly, melting snow is an efficient irrigator - allowing the moisture to be absorbed deep into the soil. Simply pile snow around the base of trees, shrubs, and garden beds that have bulbs or perennials sleeping in them.  Just be careful not to use snow that has salts or other deicing chemicals mixed in.

Getting A Jump On Spring...
Savvygardeners know that getting a jump on spring growing means tricking Mother Nature a little.  Cold frames and hotbeds are the best way to do it.  These nifty devices allow you to get your seedlings in the ground weeks earlier than normal.  That means earlier growth, earlier harvest, earlier eating!  Learn how they work (and how to build them) in our feature article, Cold Frames & Hotbeds.

Get Jumping Some More...
Get an even bigger jump on spring this month.  What you can and should be doing now:

  • Sow the seeds of larkspur, sweet peas and snapdragons where they are to grow outdoors. For best bloom, these plants must sprout and begin growth well before warm weather arrives.
  • Start seeds of broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage indoors, late in the month, for transplanting into the garden later this spring. Start onion seed indoors now.
  • Daring gardeners can take a chance on sowing peas, lettuce, spinach and radish. If the weather stays mild, you will be rewarded with extra early harvests.

Source


 


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Housekeeping, Houseplants...
Next time you're dusting the furniture also consider dusting the plants.  With the short days of winter we need to make sure as much light as possible reaches our houseplants.  Simply wipe dust from broad-leaf plants at regular intervals using a cloth dampened with clean water.

Cutting Clematis...
It's time to prune certain types of clematis.  These can be a confusing group of plants to prune, since they are not all pruned the same way.  Most large-flowered varieties bloom in mid-June on short stems from the previous season's growth and often again in late summer on new growth. Prune them in February or March by removing dead and weak stems, then cut back the remaining stems to the topmost pair of large, plump green buds.  This cut could be six inches to 18 inches from the stem tips.  Varieties in this group include:

Nelly Moser Duchess of Edinburgh Henryi
Miss Bateman Mrs. Cholmondeley Elsa Spaeth
Lasurstern Dr. Ruppel General Sikorski

Fungus Gnats...
Fungus gnats are small insects (1/8 to 1/10 inch long) that are common in moist high-organic matter houseplant soils. Though the adults are mosquito-like in appearance, they do not bother humans or pets. It is actually the larvae or maggots that can injure plants by feeding on the roots. Symptoms include sudden wilting, loss of vigor, poor growth or yellowing of leaves. Use of sterile media and avoiding overwatering can help prevent infestations. Existing infestations can be controlled with pyrethrins such as bifenthrin (Ortho Rose & Flower Insect Killer) or Bacillus thuringiensis v. israelensis (Gnatrol).

Source

Trees For Birds...
If bird feeding has been a favorite activity this winter, order trees and shrubs that provide cover and small fruits for your feathered friends. Consider species such as crabapple, hawthorn, holly, dogwood, and pyracantha that can help lure hungry birds from cultivated fruits, if planted on the opposite side of the yard.

Source

Finally...
"May this Valentine's Day be filled with love, understanding, and contentment as you journey through life with those you hold dear."

~ Darly Henerson

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