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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of February 26, 2017
  • Did you successfully overwinter a tropical plant indoors this year? Congratulations! Our lower light levels here in Massachusetts make it challenging, but not impossible. Signs of new growth means that now is the time to prune, fertilize and re-pot it.
  • Look for signs of new growth on houseplants now that the days are getting longer. Once you see it, it is time to fertilize. What to use? There are many good options, just like there are Fords, Chevys, and Hondas. Your local pro can help you figure out what is right for you.
  • Warm days make it feel like it’s time to get your shovel out. Should you get a head start preparing garden beds? Grab a fistful of soil and squeeze it. If water comes out, be patient. Waiting will protect the tiny air pockets essential to healthy soils and good root growth. Here in Massachusetts, that time is normally early April.
  • Sometimes I get lazy and don’t feel like lugging out the dead perennial stems I just pruned over to the compost pile, so I simply tuck them under existing bushes. It turns out that my laziness is a good thing. Beneficial insects and pollinators overwinter in these hollow stems, and are likely still dormant. Is there a safe haven somewhere in your yard?
  • Did you know that you can change the natural color of  blue hydrangeas? Here in Massachusetts, our soils are normally acidic, which makes the flowers blue. If you raise the pH of the soil by adding lime, they will turn pink! If you don’t use quite enough lime, they will be somewhere in between.
  • Not all “pink” hydrangeas can be turned blue. The paniculata types are actually white hydrangeas that turn pink as the weather gets cold in the fall.  The flower buds have yet to form on these types, so it is safe to prune them back now if needed. If you are not sure what kind you have, bring a branch to your local professional.  Click here to find one near you.
  • Add a healthy crunch to salads and sandwiches by growing spouts on your kitchen counter. Alfalfa is the easiest, and it takes just a few days. Simply put a tablespoon or so in a jar and soak them in water overnight. Rinse them in the morning, and about three times a day.

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