Monthly Garden Calendar for Midwest United States

Organic Gardening Month-to-Month Almanac

By Paul Rodman

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JANUARY

"In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous"—Aristotle

Seed Starting Tip. Start cauliflower, leek and geranium seeds early this month.

Check Your Bulbs. Check any tender bulbs you have stored for the winter. Discard any that show rot or shriveling, and mist those that appear to be drying out. Store in a cool, dark location.

Have a Redesign In Mind? Now is the time to redesign any beds you weren't happy with. Use graph paper to plan several designs for spring, taking into account such factors as sun, shade, natural features and so on.

Choose Your Roses. Nursery selections decreases as the season progresses, so order any roses that you want to plant this year. Most suppliers accept orders early and ship at the appropriate planting time for your zone. Check with the American Rose Society for more information on new varieties for 2004.

Maintain Birdbaths. Keep you birdbaths full of fresh water, changing as often as necessary in freezing weather. An electric birdbath deicer may be a good—and much appreciated—investment for the cold months.

Time to Repot! Repot any houseplants that are outgrowing their containers. Place your plants in a cool shower once a month to remove dust and eliminates any pests that might be on the leaves.

Proper Poinsettia Care. Proper care of Poinsettia's is critical to ensuring a plant that will perform well throughout the winter. If the pot is wrapped in foil remove and discard to provide drainage. Let the soil dry completely between watering. Keep out of drafts both hot and cold. The ideal temperature range this plant likes if 60-68 degrees F.

Wintertime Necessities. Place a burlap screen around outdoor plants that are susceptible to splashing or runoff from road salt or deicing chemicals. Make sure burlap is 12"-18" away from the plants. To avoid harming sensitive plants, try using a cat litter and sand on you icy sidewalks

Reuse Your Ash. Use wood ash from your fireplaces and wood-burning stove to increase the ph of your garden soil, but don't overdo it; too high of a ph level will prevent the uptake of some plant nutrients. Test the ph of your soil to maintain the correct balance.

Snow Can Be Heavy For Trees. GENTLY remove snow and ice from evergreens as needed to prevent limbs from breaking.

Done With Your Christmas Tree? Don't throw it away. Get out your pruners and remove the boughs. They make excellent attractive mulch for your beds.

Acquired an Amaryllis? Proper care will ensure many years of beautiful blooms. When the blooms fade cut off the stem that contained the bloom. Place the plant in a bright location and water when the soil feels dry. In the spring plant it outside in a semi-sunny location. In the fall before the first frost pot it up and cut back the foliage.

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