Friday, December 26, 2008

January Gardening Calendar

Christmas is over, so now our attention turns to gardening. We've already received some seed catalogs. Particularly impressive was the printed catalog from our friend Jere Gettle at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. That's an Ozarks company and it has grown tremendously since young Jere founded it about 10 years ago.

We're working on garden planning and seed ordering now. How about you?

Here, from the University of Missouri, is the January Gardening Calendar.


• Weeks 1-2: Quarantine new gift plants to be sure they do not harbor any insect pests.

• Weeks 2-4: Amaryllis aftercare: Remove spent flower after blooming. Set the plant in a bright sunny

window to allow the leaves to fully develop. Keep the soil evenly moist, not soggy. Fertilize occasionally

with a general purpose houseplant formulation.

All month

To clean heavily encrusted clay pots, scrub them with a steel wool pad after they have soaked overnight in a solution consisting of one gallon of water, and one cup each of white vinegar and household beach.

Some plants are sensitive to the fluorine and chlorine in tap water. Water containers should stand overnight to allow these gases to dissipate before using on plants.

Wash the dust off of house plant leaves on a regular basis. This allows the leaves to gather light more efficiently and will result in better growth.

Set the pots of humidity-loving house plants on trays filled with pebbles and water. Pots should sit on the pebbles, not in the water.

Allow tap water to warm to room temperature before using on houseplants.

Fluffy, white mealy bugs on house plants are easily killed by touching them with a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol.

Insecticidal soap sprays can be safely applied to most house plants for the control of many insect pests.


Weeks 2-3: Sow pansy seeds indoors now.

All month

Gently brush off heavy snows from tree and shrub branches.

Limbs damaged by ice or snow should be pruned off promptly to prevent bark from tearing.

Check stored summer bulbs such as dahlias, cannas and gladiolus to be sure they are not rotting or drying out.

To reduce injury, allow ice to melt naturally from plants. Attempting to remove ice may damage plants further.

Use sand, bird seed, sawdust or vermiculite to gain traction on icy paths. Avoid salt or ice melters as these may injure plants.

Make an inventory of the plants in your home landscape. Note their location and past performance. Plan changes on paper now.


Week 1: If you didn’t get your bulbs planted before the ground froze, plant them immediately in individual peat pots and place the pots in flats. Set them outside where it is cold and bury the bulbs under thick blankets of leaves. Transplant them into the garden any time weather permits

Weeks 1-2: Seed and nursery catalogs arrive. While reviewing garden catalogs, look for plants with improved insect, disease and drought-tolerance.

Weeks 1-2: Old Christmas trees can be recycled outdoors as a feeding station for birds. String garlands of peanuts, popcorn, cranberries, fruits and suet through their boughs.

All month

Avoid foot traffic on frozen lawns as this may injure turf grasses.

Make a resolution to keep records of your garden this year.

Store wood ashes in sealed, fireproof containers. Apply a dusting around lilacs, baby’s breath, asters, lilies and roses in spring. Do not apply to acid-loving plants. Excess ashes may be composted.

Check all fruit trees for evidence of rodent injury to bark. Use baits or traps where necessary.

Cakes of suet hung in trees will attract insect-hunting woodpeckers to your garden.

Brightly colored paints applied to the handles of tools will make them easier to locate in the garden.

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