Good year! Hopefully this is a month of continuous snow, rain, fog and hazy mornings. This is exactly what our climate-friendly gardens want. Although growth slows down in cold winter soils, some growth continues, often only underground. Our winter and early spring flowering shrubs, bulbs and perennials love all this freezing wet weather. And what moisture is not used can be stored deep in the ground for later use.
PLANTING: While we can plant all year round, we usually delay most planting until the (relatively) warmer days from mid-February to the end of February. The exception is bare root planting. Here are a few tips:
- Bare root fruit trees are now available. Check their pollination requirements; Not all fruit trees are self-fertile and some will need a cross-pollinator. Note the number of hours of cooling required. Our winters are on average 700 to 800 hours cold.
- Bare Root Roses – Hybrid teas, floribundas, vines, miniatures and shrubs are available. Everything is going very well in the San Joaquin Valley.
- Bare Root Berries and Grapes – Plant vines, Boysen berries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries.
You can also plant beets, carrots, leeks, lettuce, onions, parsley, radishes, seed potatoes, onions, peas, radishes, spinach, artichokes and asparagus. straight into the garden this month. Start sowing seeds for summer annuals and vegetables like tomatoes and peppers in a sheltered location where you can keep the seedlings warm and they will receive enough light. I could also make a final seedling of wildflower seeds in a weed-free area. Wildflower seeds love my gravel driveway so I try to leave volunteers along the edges and always have space for vehicles.
HOLD: We have less to do in January, but there are a few tasks that are perfect to do this month. One of them involves spraying roses, flowering deciduous trees and deciduous fruit trees with winter horticultural oil to smother overwintering insects like spider mites, scales, mealybugs and peach branch borers. Spray branches, forks, trunk, and soil below the tree’s drip line. Stop spraying if rain is forecast or the temperature is below 45 degrees. Never spray oil on walnut trees. If you haven’t sprayed your peach tree or nectarine tree for peach leaf curl in November or December, now spray with a copper or synthetic fungicide. You don’t have to apply horticultural oil if you’re lucky enough not to have these specific pests, but if you’ve had a problem every spring, summer, or fall, be proactive now and save your trees and trees. healthier roses all year round. .
The other main task in January is pruning deciduous trees, shrubs and roses. Keep pruners and loppers sharp. Sterilize pruners or loppers between plants. Use a 10% bleach solution or white vinegar. First remove any broken, diseased, or crossed branches. Two basic cutting techniques are used in general pruning: thinning and topping. Thinning cuts remove entire branches, resulting in a more natural look. Thinned cuts are also used to allow more air and light circulation inside the tree and are the first cut. You may want to pause halfway and take a step back to examine the tree from a short distance. You want to end up with a tree that looks balanced and well structured. Topping cuts shorten the branches and should only be used on small branches. Use cob cuts wisely to shorten branches that are too long. You can remove about a quarter of the previous season’s growth on these new, smaller branches if you want to keep the tree smaller. Be sure to cut down to an outward-facing bud to keep new growth away from inside the tree. Prune from the bottom up and from the inside of the plant to the outside. Don’t be too nervous about this. Healthy trees will recover and grow back.
Apply a preemergence herbicide for warm season weeds. Read and follow the instructions on the packaging carefully. If you don’t choose to use chemical weed control, lightly plow your weed seedlings frequently.
Monitor or turn off your irrigation controller if you haven’t already. You’ll want to water deeply if we have an extended dry spell, but don’t waste the water and all the resources it takes to get the water to the sprinkler or dripper if we don’t need it.
KEEP: I like to have a nice foggy day chipping off some of the brush that we have collected all year round on our rural property. While we leave heaps of brush for wildlife, there are some branches, including the Christmas tree, that make an excellent replenishment mulch for our flower beds. Instead of sending leaves off your property, shred them and use them as mulch as well.
Another winter job is making new bee nesting boxes or repairing old ones as needed. Often our older ones have filled tubes, which means they are “in use”. We also check that spiders or earwigs aren’t hanging around while waiting to eat the bee larvae inside the tubes. To learn more about this great way to support solitary nesting native bees, visit xerxes.org website.
A “new” trend is what is called “regenerative landscaping,” which many of us have been doing for years: choosing methods that improve the health of soils, plants and the planet for generations. to come, although they are sometimes messy or do not result in instant blooms. In all types and sizes of gardens, we can use ‘least toxic first’ pest control methods, tolerate some wilderness in parts of the garden, grow plants only for birds, pollinators, plants. lizards, toads or even small mammals, and tolerate some damage in order to maintain the healthy chain of life. The plants are resistant. They can tolerate a lot.
This year, I will continue to garden in a spirit of partnership with the plants, helping them when needed, but also allowing them to develop relationships with the rest of the life of the garden. I’m an important part of this garden, but when I take a step back (or get busy and have to leave the garden alone) I’m often surprised at how well things go without me.
Tulare-Kings County Master Gardeners will be available to answer your questions:
Hurley Visalia Farmer’s Market – First and Third Saturdays, 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., 2100 W. Caldwell Ave (behind the Sears Building) Garden Fruit Tree Pruning Demonstration – Saturday, Jan. 22, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Hurley Elementary School, Visalia
Public demonstrations of rose bushes:
January 17, 2022, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Old Grangeville Church, Hanford
January 22, 2022, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., Ralph Moore Rose Garden, Hall and Main Street, Visalia
January 22, 2022, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Woodlake Botanical Garden
Call us: Tulare County Master Gardeners: (559) 684-3325, Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30 am-11:30am
Instagram at: @mgtularekings