Let’s Talk about January


By Pat Cordray

Happy New Year!  Can you believe it?  Here we are in a brand new year.  So, gardening for 2016, where to start?  There are quite a few things to do from planting and fertilizing trees to adding color to brighten up your containers and landscape, to planting those tomatoes.  Even in January there are plenty of reasons to be outside playing in the yard.

First up is what to do if we have a freeze warning for our area. Water your plants well, this protects the roots.  Bring in your tender plants that are in containers and hanging baskets.  Cover the plants that you can’t move.  Use fabric that is made to cover plants, sheets are too thin, N-Sulate works well.  Cover the entire plant tenting the fabric to the ground and securing it with pegs, you don’t want it to blow away.  I have even cut back a plant so it is easier for me to cover,  better a smaller plant than a dead plant.  Remove the fabric once we warm up.  

January is a great time to add a tree to your landscape.  Trees live for years and years so think about why you want a tree.  Do you need shade, privacy, flowers and or  fruit?  How big is your yard?  Keep in mind the mature size of the tree you are considering, you wouldn’t want to put a live oak in a tiny yard. 

For shade trees there are oaks, maples, elms, Chinese pistache, cypress, golden rain trees,  pecan, weeping willow and crape myrtles.  Evergreen trees like the live oak, magnolia, cherry laurel, loquat, Texas mountain laurel, olive, citrus and the Japanese blueberry, add more privacy .  Flowering trees like magnolia, golden rain trees, crape myrtles, Chinese fringe tree, red buds, tulip magnolias, Mexican plum, orchid trees, mimosa, Texas mountain laurel and flowering fruit trees add beauty.  If you want fruit then there are apple, peach, plum, loquat citrus, persimmon, avocado, figs, mulberry and nectarine. These trees can make your home more beautiful, private, shadier and they also provide shelter and food for birds.  

This is the time of the year to feed those trees!  drag that bag of Microlife out of the garage and use it around your trees, shrubs and bulbs. 

There is still time to fill up your containers with beautiful blooming plants that will add color and and last until the heat arrives.  For instant color there are pansies, snapdragons, violas, english daisies, cyclamen, lobelia, stock, alyssum, primrose and dianthus.  Give these plants full sun, well draining soil, water and a handful or two of Microlife and they will bloom their hearts out for you.  Leave room for the spring bloomers that can be planted now like: delphinium, larkspur, sweet pea, blue bonnet, Indian paint brush, foxglove and hollyhocks.  

So, I mentioned that it is time to start tomatoes and indeed it is.  Pick the type of tomatoes you want to eat: cherry, grape, medium or large.  Get your seeds ready and read Kathryn’s article.  Her article this month is all about tomatoes, yum.  

Lots of fun to be had in the January garden!