WHAT TO DO IN JANUARY
These are just a few of our suggestions for Central Texas. Please come visit us at The Natural Gardener for the best, most comprehensive advice, plants and organic gardening supplies, all appropriate to our area and the current season.
Vegetables: Asian Greens, Lettuce, Radish, Spinach. LATE JANUARY: Beets, Bok Choy, Carrots, Collards, Kale, Kohlrabi, Mustard, Peas (English, Sugar, Snap), Rutabaga, Turnip.
If you want to grow your own transplants, it’s time to start tomato and pepper seeds indoors. You'll need a heated greenhouse or cold frame, or supplemental lighting indoors. If you're starting your seeds in the house, there are different schools of thought about what lighting method works best. A window can sometimes work, but only if you're careful not to let the seedlings burn, and you also need to rotate the seedlings daily to keep a strong, straight stem. If you choose to use supplemental lighting, place your grow lights no more than two to three inches above the seedlings and raise them as the seedlings grow.
Annuals: Alyssum, Coneflower, Delphinium, Gaillardia, Gayfeather, Hollyhock, Larkspur, Phlox, Petunia, Snapdragon. LATE JANUARY: Poppies, Sweet Pea.
Vegetables: Artichoke crowns, Asian Greens, Asparagus crowns, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collards, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Mustard, Onion sets, Spinach.
Fruits: January is bare root fruit month! Now’s the time to plant Apples, Blackberries, Dewberries, Figs, Grapes, Peaches, Pears, Pecans, Persimmons, Pomegranates, Raspberries and Strawberries. (Be sure to stop by our Info Desk for free handouts on proper planting, pruning, maintenance and more.)
Herbs: Calendula, Chervil, Chives, Cilantro, Dill, Parsley, Echinacea, Feverfew, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Sorrel, Thyme.
Annuals: Bluebonnets, Delphinium, Dianthus, Larkspur, Ornamental Cabbage and Kale, Pansies, Poppies, Snapdragons, Stock, Sweet Alyssum, Violas.
Trees: Winter is a great time to plant hardy evergreen and deciduous trees. In the winter, roots start to grow while the top of the plant is resting, and this gives your tree a nice head start come springtime. Plant native Texas trees whenever you can – they’re generally drought tolerant (once they’re established) and they’re definitely best adapted to our soils and climate. Please visit The Natural Gardener for the most comprehensive selection of seeds and plants appropriate to the season. We only sell seeds and plants that are in season and suited to growing in Central Texas...
FEED AND CULTIVATE
Prepare vegetable gardens for spring. Fill new beds with Hill Country Garden Soil or amend existing beds with 1 – 2 inches of Revitalizer, Turkey or Manure Compost. Once your soil is in place, add Garden Pep Cottonseed Meal at the rate of 1 lb. per 30 square feet to the top two inches of soil. When you plant, toss a little Flower Power or bone meal into the hole so that it touches the roots of your new transplants. Water in with Maxicrop Liquid Seaweed. You can continue to use Maxicrop every time your new plants need water. It’s a great natural root stimulator and anti-stressor for plants.
Use mycorrhizal fungi when planting or whenever existing plants need a boost. These wonderful microorganisms have a mutualistic relationship with plants and when they attach themselves to your plant’s roots, they immediately increase your plant’s ability to absorb water and nutrients. Essentially, mycorrhizae act like a second root system. They also emit beneficial by-products (siderphores) that improve the health of the surrounding soil. At The Natural Gardener we’ve seen first-hand what a difference mycorrhizae can make. Get your plants off to the best possible start with Plant Success and Thrive mycorrhizal formulations. Both are easy to use, and they’ll help your plants withstand transplant stress, drought, cold, and even disease. Fertilize existing asparagus, strawberries and cool-weather annuals with a good organic fertilizer like Lady Bug Flower Power or John’s Recipe Liquid Fertilizer.
Aerobic Compost Tea is a great wintertime tonic for any type of plant, growing in any type of soil. The microorganisms in Aerobic Compost Tea colonize leaf and root surfaces, inhibiting the attachment and growth of disease-causing organisms. Aerobic Compost Tea has been shown to help increase plant growth, reduce water needs, reduce disease, and supply many other benefits to both soil and plants. Mix 1 gallon of Natural Gardener Aerobic Compost Tea with 1 gallon of distilled water, and apply to 5,000 square feet. To help with lawn diseases like Take All Root Rot, apply Aerobic Compost Tea undiluted.
PRUNE, SPRAY, MAINTAIN
Do a thorough check-up of your irrigation system and watering tools (hoses, sprinklers, etc.)
If we’re not getting adequate rainfall, continue to water your lawn and any other plants that require supplemental water. Always water deeply, especially before freezes, as dry plants are more likely to suffer freeze damage than well-watered ones. Be careful not to overwater and always check soil moisture levels before watering (plants use less water when temperatures are cool.)
Give new transplants and tender plants extra TLC before a freeze. Water the soil, not the leaves; add mulch, if needed; and cover with at least one layer of floating row cover. Be sure to secure the edges of the row cover, to hold the heat underneath.
Buy corn gluten early in the month and have it ready to spread on your lawn and flower beds to help control spring weeds. You’ll want to apply it as soon as we get our first sunny, spring-like days. The change in soil temperature causes weeds to start sprouting, and that’s when you want to get ‘em! Corn gluten is a natural pre-emergent herbicide that’s an earth-friendly alternative to highly toxic “weed-n-feed” products. Corn gluten will keep your weed problem from spreading and it supplies your lawn a healthy dose of all-natural nitrogen. It’s critical to apply corn gluten at the right time of year. Usually the end of January or the first part of February is ideal but timing may vary a little from year-to-year, based on the weather. Remember: corn gluten keeps all seeds from sprouting, not just weeds, so be careful where you apply it.
Spray fruit trees with dormant oil. Dormant oil is a non-toxic and very effective control for Plum Curculio, Scale and other over-wintering pests and their eggs. Fruit trees, and any plant with a current infestation of scale, should be sprayed two or more times with dormant oil over the winter.
This is your last chance to prune grapes, fruit trees and other plants for the dormant season. The weather warms up and buds begin to break in February, so next month it’ll be too late! Proper pruning is important to the health and production of your trees so be sure to educate yourself before you begin. Attend one of our FREE CLASSES, read a good reference book, or consult an arborist to learn proper pruning techniques for your particular trees.
Shear evergreen hedges as needed.
Shear hardy herbs as needed. Oregano, Rosemary, Savory, and Thyme will really benefit from a late-winter haircut.
Consider planting hardy and well-adapted shrubs, groundcovers and vines. Central Texas winters are usually mild, and an early start in their new home means your plants will fare better come summertime.
Find a dry spot in the house or garage for laying out your seed potatoes. Potatoes get planted in February, around President’s Day, but they need to be cut and set-out to dry beforehand.
If you’ve had a vegetable garden for a few years now, have a soil test done. It’ll help you determine which amendments to add and what to avoid. Your plants will be healthier and it may even save you money in the long run. We recommend: Texas Plant and Soil Lab, Logan Labs and Control Laboratories.
Test and repair your irrigation system. If you don’t have automatic irrigation, winter’s the best time to install an efficient drip irrigation system.
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