January 2015 Gardening Calendar
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It has been a pleasant winter so far. The cool weather plants are prospering, and even some of the hot weather plants are still performing well. Keep in mind, however, that January is usually our coldest month, so have your freeze protection materials close at hand.
In the vegetable garden, it is time to plant the onion transplants. There are many good selections available including 1015, Legend and Granex as yellow onions. Red hamburger and Bermuda are available along with several other red and white selections.
I recommend that you plant the seedlings every 2 inches in the row so that the middle two onions can be harvested for green onions. The third onion will then have 6 inches space to form its bulb. The space is important to allow the onion to form a full-size bulb, but nitrogen is also important. Prepare the onion bed by applying 1 cup of slow release or “winterizer” lawn fertilizer for every 50 square feet of bed. Side dress the row with one half cup ever three weeks after planting.
The onion tops will flop over in May to let you know they are ready to be harvested.
Broccoli and greens should be ready to be harvested from the garden this month. Harvest the greens as you need the nutritious vegetables, but always leave half the foliage intact. The broccoli heads harvested now will be very large. The later heads will be smaller. Just like the onions, greens such as spinach, mustard, kale, Brussels sprouts, collards and chard must be fertilized every three weeks.
In the flower garden, stocks, snapdragons, petunias, dianthus, alyssum, calendula, pansies and cyclamen should be making quite a show with their bloom. If you planted primula too early and the hot spells in October and early November reduced the bloom, they should start blooming again this month.
Roses have had a nice flush of bloom but will be susceptible to any cold weather that occurs this month. They need the rest period before the spring bloom period.
It is probably best to harvest all your remaining tomatoes and compost the plants before the next cold spell. It has been a good year for this popular vegetable.
I also recommend that the remaining citrus fruit be harvested before any January freeze.
It is still a good time to plant shade trees and shrubs. The new nursery stock will show up at your favorite nursery sometime in January or February. In the meantime, it is usually a good time to take advantage of sales on the remnant stock.
January is a good time to build flagstone or decomposed granite walks and patios. Patio blocks also work well. Mortar is not required. Visit plantanswers.com for one of my archived articles on the topic or seek out instructions in one of many available how-to handbooks. It is an easy do-it-yourself project for the whole family. The horticulture material suppliers in your area will have the handbooks and how-to sheets.
There are a number of bird species that use nest boxes in our area. Nesting begins in February, so now is the time to get your birdhouses in place. The key to success is to have the right hole size for the bird you want to attract and to place the house in a spot that they are comfortable with.
House wrens don’t nest in our area but Carolina wrens and Bewick’s wrens do. Wrens are not as fussy as most birds on their nesting site but for best luck, seek or build a wren house that is 6 inches by 6 inches with a 1.25 inch entrance hole. Place it on a fence or the side of the house from 6 to 10 feet from the ground.
Other birds that will nest in a bird house are titmice, chicadees, woodpeckers and purple martins.
Calvin Finch Ph.D. is a Horticulturist and Urban Water Program Director with the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources.