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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of February 3, 2020
  • Create a delicious, chilled dill sauce for fish by combining 1 cup of plain yogurt, 3 tablespoons of minced, fresh dill and 1 ½ teaspoons of Dijon mustard.  
  • Keeping peace lilies and philodendrons as houseplants help to purify the air in your home.  These common houseplants help to remove benzene, ammonia and other toxic chemicals that are in the air.
  • Cut branches of pussy willow, forsythia, witch hazel and flowering quince on a seasonably warm day and bring them indoors.  Put some water in a vase, add the branches and in just a short time … Spring!
  • It is normal for rhododendrons to curl their leaves and droop during very cold weather.
  • Figwort (Scrophularia spp.) is a prolific nectar producer attracting native butterflies, bees and hummingbirds to the landscape.  Tolerating partial shade and damp conditions, figwort is an excellent plant for wetland edges.  Because their flowers are not particularly showy, it is sometimes difficult to find them at your favorite nursery or garden center.  They are, however, worth seeking out.  Blooming with red and green flowers in late spring to summer, figwort can reach heights of 6’ tall.
  • Hummingbird trumpet (Zauschneria garrettii) is very well suited as a ground cover for full sun, well-drained locations.  Growing approximately 6” tall and spreading to several feet across, hummingbird trumpet displays beautiful red flowers in the summer that attract hummingbirds.  Hardy in zones 5-10.
  • Vegetable gardeners that live in climates with a shorter growing season will be excited about a new cayenne pepper.  ‘Red Ember’ matures early and produces hot, bright-red peppers approximately two weeks earlier than the other cayenne varieties.  Peppers grow 4 ½” long and 1” wide.
  • When choosing to grow vegetables in containers, be sure to consider the need for daily watering.  The small volume of soil in the container tends to dry out quickly in hot weather.  As a result of frequent watering, leaching of soil nutrients often occurs.  Consider incorporating a slow-release fertilizer into the soil mixture prior to planting.
  • Once you have chosen the location for your new vegetable garden, consider conducting a soil test prior to any planting.  Simply collect a sample of soil from the garden site by taking a trowel and removing one cup of soil approximately 6” – 8” deep.  Repeat this in 8 – 10 different spots throughout the garden area.  Combine all of the samples taken in a container and remove only one cup from the mixture.  Spread this soil out on newspaper and let it air dry.  Once dry, place it in a zip lock bag and mail it to a university soil-testing laboratory for the analysis.

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