Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Northern & Central Midwest

January, 2001
Regional Report

Protect Evergreens from Salt

If you have evergreens planted where they might receive road salt spray, build a screen made from burlap stapled onto wooden posts to slow or stop salt damage to those trees. As soon as the ground thaws in spring, be sure to water those plants very well to flush the salt from the needles and soil.

Bathe Houseplants

With the heat on regularly this time of year, it\'s especially important to keep an eye on houseplants. Give them at least a monthly washing to remove dust and insects. This can be as simple as putting them in the shower and hosing them off. They\'ll enjoy the extra humidity and clean leaves, and you\'ll remove any insects.

Keep Forced Bulbs Cool

Keep any forced bulbs coming into bloom in a cool spot with as much bright light as possible for longer blooming. Rotate pots so the blooms don't lean toward the sun. When blooms are spent, either toss the plants or treat them like other houseplants until they can be planted outdoors. Daffodils are the most likely bulbs to rebloom outdoors in subsequent years.

Check Old Seeds

Inventory last year's seeds before beginning to page through the new catalogs to order new ones. Throw out old seeds as well as those that didn't perform well. If in doubt about whether a seed is still viable, you can do a germination test by wrapping a sample of seeds in a moist paper towel and storing it in a warm room for 1-2 weeks.

Check Stored Bulbs

Check any stored bulbs such as gladiolus, dahlia, canna, begonia, tuberose, and freesia for rot or disease. Remember that one rotten bulb can ruin all the others. If bulbs are severely dehydrated, sprinkle them lightly with water and cover with slightly damp peat moss.


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