December’s cold, freezing winds usually bring garden chores to a close, and thoughts turn to Christmas and gardening indoors. However, there is still time, early in the month, to finish raking up fallen leaves, dead vegetables and other materials for your compost pile. Mat down compost with water and sprinkle a little ground limestone over each 6-inch layer. Put away all tools making sure that all soil has been removed. Oil or grease metal parts so they will not rust.
Start Amaryllis now
Amaryllis started now will add color in the window garden, during dull winter days. An excellent potting mixture is equal parts of good garden loam, sand and peat moss plus a little dried manure. A small handful of bonemeal, when added to this mixture, for each 6-inch pot is sufficient. Place crockery or pebbles in bottom of pot to insure proper drainage. Pots should be filled up to two thirds with soil, after which bulbs are set in center working soil around them. When planted the upper third of the bulb should be exposed. Place in dim light in a temperature of 60 to 65F. until growth starts. Water thoroughly, then sparingly to keep the soil from drying out until growth starts, usually in six to eight weeks.
On Feeding Birds
Put out bird feeding stations if you have not already done so, since birds find it increasingly difficult to find food, when the ground freezes. Birds like suet, bacon fat and other fatty foods which they require to maintain a high body temperature. Also put out seeds from sunflower, corn, or any of the prepared mixtures available from local garden shops. A feeding station placed near the house or, better still, outside a window will enable you to get better acquainted with winter birds.
Attention to Poinsettias
Poinsettias, purchased for Christmas gifts, should be handled carefully after bringing them home from the florist or greenhouse. The conditions under which they were grown in greenhouses are very different from those in highly heated homes. Leaves may turn yellow and fall after this change of environment occurs, because of a sudden drop or rise in temperature, drafts and overwatering. Poinsettias prefer 60F. during the day, slightly lower at night. Likewise, plants flower better if they receive normal daylight so keep them away form artificial light to prolong the life of the blooms.
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