Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

New England

January, 2005
Regional Report

Replenish Mulch

With fluctuating temperatures, tender perennials are susceptible to damage from the alternating freezing and thawing of the soil. Replace any mulch that's blown away, and cover the plants, if necessary, with discarded evergreen boughs as an extra layer of protection.

Check Forced Bulbs

Check the calendar to see if your forced bulbs have received their recommended amount of cold treatment (12 to 16 weeks). If so, move them into a 50-degree spot out of direct sun until the flower shoots are about 2 inches tall, then move the pots to a sunny 68 degree F location. The warmer the temperature, the shorter the flowering stems will be and the faster the bulbs will flower and fade.

Order Fruit Trees

Now is the time to order bare-root fruit trees online or through catalogs. Bare-root trees are shipped in late winter or early spring before they start to grow. You\'ll get a better selection from a mail-order company now than from your local garden center in spring. Trees will be shipped for planting time in your area, and they should be planted immediately upon arrival.

Check Stored Root Crops

Potatoes, onions, carrots, turnips, and other root crops that you have stored in your basement or root cellar should be checked regularly for signs of decay. Any vegetables that show any rotting should be removed and eaten (if possible) immediately so they don't spread the disease to other vegetables.

Make Cuttings of Geraniums

Geraniums that you brought indoors this winter are probably getting tall and leggy by now if they're not growing under artificial grow lights. Prune back errant branches and take 4- to 6-inch cuttings to root. Strip off the bottom set of leaves, dip the cut ends in rooting hormone powder, and stick the cuttings in a pot filled with moistened potting soil. Keep the soil moist, and they should root in a few weeks.


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