University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
SOWING ONION SEEDS AND OTHER FEBRUARY
Nardozzi, Horticulturist and
Perry, UVM Extension Horticulturist
seeds of onion and leeks indoors, getting ready for spring pruning,
checking houseplants for spider mites are some of the gardening
Long-season alliums, such as leeks and onions,
should be started from seeds now. Leeks and onions need 10 to 12
growth indoors before they go in the garden. Sprinkle the seeds on
top of a seed-starting
mix, keep it moist, and as soon as the seedlings emerge place the
grow lights. Later in spring, in 6 to 8 weeks from sowing when
several inches tall, you should transplant into small, individual
packs, small pots, or into a seedling tray.
main pruning season starts, check your hand pruners and shears.
Sharpen the blades, oil the levers, and
remove any rust. Pruning trees will go much faster and be easier on
when you use sharp, well-maintained equipment.
For sharpening, consider a sharpening stone, or file with diamond
just for this purpose.
indoor air in winter can lead to problems with spider mites on
mites themselves are barely visible to the eye, so look for the
cause -- stippling on leaves and fine webbing on new growth. You
will find a magnifying glass helpful to
spot them. Spray the plants with insecticidal soap two to three
times a week to
kill the mites, making sure to spray the undersides of the leaves as
the tops. If this is too smelly to use
indoors, try first just giving plants a good soaking in mildly soapy
flower, moth orchids (Phalaenopsis) need consistent
degrees at night and above 70 during the day. In the north,
a south window in winter is not too much light, whereas it would be
too much in
summer. Fertilize with a dilute liquid orchid fertilizer (high
nitrogen). Let the soil dry out somewhat between waterings.
With some simple
care, you can coax your amaryllis to bloom again next year. Cut back
stalk (but not the leaves) when through blooming, and continue
fertilizing the bulb. In summer, place the pot outdoors in a
environment. In fall, bring it indoors and let the leaves die back
and the bulb
go dormant for 6 weeks, during which time you should water little if
at all. In
November, start normal watering and fertilizing again.
pruning spring-flowering trees and shrubs in late winter, such as
apple, dogwood and cherry, save the pruned branches to be forced
indoors for your
own early spring flower show. Take one- to two-foot-long, one- to
branches and place them in warm water indoors. Some like to soak
them first in
a bathtub of water overnight. In a few weeks you should have
If you potted up spring-flowering
bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, last fall for “forcing”
should have enough cold if stored around 40 degrees (F) to bring
now. Bring into a warmer, but still cool
location such as an unheated room or near a window, until you see an
inch or so
of growth. Then you can bring into warmer
conditions. This will help keep stalks
and leaves from growing too quickly all at once and toppling over.
Other activities for this month
include keeping bird feeders filled regularly and heated bird baths
every few days, and buying some cut flowers for winter cheer
(Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally known horticulturist,
author, gardening consultant, and garden coach; CharlieNardozzi.com).