JANUARY IN THE GARDEN
by Terry Kramer
While folks in colder parts of the country can only plan their
spring gardens and flip through mail order catalogs, North Coast
gardeners can actually plant, prune and groom this month. So grab
your spade and pruning shears; there is much to do in a January
- PLANT PLANT PLANT -- Bare root season is here, time
to plant now and save money. Take advantage of bare root season
this month and plant fruit trees. It is also a good time to plant
raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries. Bare
root season also offers a good selection of edible perennials
like asparagus, artichokes and rhubarb. Ornamental gardeners
should consider planting bare root perennials, vines, shrubs
and roses. If your ground is too wet to dig, heel in bare root
stock by potting it up in containers of moist sand or wood shavings.
- PRUNE -- Between rainstorms, grab your shears and
gloves to do some pruning. All deciduous berries such as blueberry,
raspberry, blackberry and gooseberry should be pruned now. January
is also a good month to prune apple, pears, plums and cherries.
Deciduous flowering shrubs and trees like flowering plum, cherry,
quince, forsythia and lilac should be pruned after bloom. Remove
faded blossoms from early flowering camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons.
- SPRAY -- Applying a dormant spray beginning this month
can help deter pests and disease problems with fruit trees, berries
and roses. Make a winter spray solution of dormant oil and lime
sulfur. It will smother many over-wintering pest eggs and disease
spores. Spraying apple and pear trees with sulfur spray after
each rain will help keep scab in check.
- GROOM -- Avoid pest and disease problems next spring
by grooming the garden now. Remove dead and decayed leaves and
petals from around roses and deciduous shrubs. Don't allow those
old withered apples (called mummies) to dangle from apple trees.
Keeping vegetable and flower beds weeded and mulched deters slugs
and snails. Clean up all old garden debris, flower pots and tall
- BEAUTIFY -- Shop the nurseries for cool-season annuals
like calendulas, snapdragons, sweet alyssum, pansies, primroses
and violas. Plant these from six packs now and you will have
bright color by March. Pot up a few 4-inch blooming primroses
this month to brighten gray days.
- MAINTAIN GARDEN TOOLS -- Spades, shears, saws should
be kept sharp and clean. Fill a bucket with sand, add motor oil
and then dip shovels and digging tools in it after cleaning and
rinsing. Tune-up mowers, tillers and weed trimmers this month.
Terry Kramer is a Bayside
free-lance writer and owner of Jacoby Creek Nursery.
The North Coast
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