January 2013 Gardening Tips for the Backyard Gardener

Yes, winter is officially here! Most of our cool-season vegetables are still going strong and enjoying the colder weather. Freezing weather means that we have to make sure we have spare sheets or commercial insulated blankets on hand and ready for freezing nights to protect those lesser cold hardy, tender plants.

In January, root crops including turnips, carrots, beets and radishes can be planted. Be sure to harvest broccoli heads after they reach full size but right before they bloom. Greens can also be harvested by removing the entire plant or just by picking the leaves.

In other areas of your garden, that aren’t in production, now would be a good time to clean and mulch to fend off winter weeds and to get a head start on having ready to plant beds once spring arrives. Having a good layer of mulch in all your beds, both decorative and vegetable throughout January and February will help discourage winter weeds and protect roots in freezing weather.

Now that most perennials are dormant, it is safe to begin pruning them. It will help get some of the dead foliage out of the beds and neaten things up. Do not wait to prune the spring blooming plants, since they will begin budding soon. Summer flowering shrubs such as vitex, abelia, althea, buddleia, crapemyrtle, and repeat-blooming roses may be pruned in February. You can even begin pruning your roses in January. Be sure to cut out any canes growing to the inside of the plant. Roses need good air circulation and this helps.

Pansies and violas are some of our most dependable annuals for the cool season color. Other cool season color plants include alyssum, dianthus, calendula, snapdragon, ornamental cabbage, foxglove, delphinium and ornamental kale. Wildflower seeds can be thrown out too.

This is the time of year to plant and prune your fruit trees. If you have scale infestation, use a dormant oil on them and spray all sides of the branches. Do not spray after they bud since the oil will burn the new growth. It is also important to clean any old, rotten or diseased fruit from the ground or branches.

Don’t forget to mulch, mulch, mulch. HAPPY GARDENING 🙂

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