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January Gardening Tips from Southwest Austin’s Natural Gardener

published on January 15, 2013

Austin winter gardeningCrisp winter weather has blown into Austin, Texas! In this coldest part of the year, enjoy these useful January gardening tips, from Southwest Austin’s home for gardening, the Natural Gardener.

Gardening To Do List for January

– Sow Vegetable Seeds: Asian Greens, Lettuce, Radish, and Spinach. LATE JANUARY: Beets, Bok Choy, Carrots, Collards, Kale, Kohlrabi, Mustard, Peas (English, Sugar, Snap), Rutabaga, and Turnip.

– Start Indoor Transplants: Tomato and Pepper seeds.

– Plant Annuals: Alyssum, Coneflower, Delphinium, Gaillardia, Gayfeather, Hollyhock, Larkspur, Phlox, Petunia, and Snapdragon. LATE JANUARY: Poppies and Sweet Pea.

– Plant Vegetable Plants: Artichoke Crowns, Asian Greens, Asparagus Crowns, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collards, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Mustard, Onion Sets, and Spinach.

– Plant Bare Root Fruits: Apples, Blackberries, Dewberries, Figs, Grapes, Peaches, Pears, Pecans, Persimmons, Pomegranates, Raspberries, and Strawberries.

– Plant Herbs: Calendula, Chervil, Chives, Cilantro, Dill, Parsley, Echinacea, Feverfew, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Sorrel, and Thyme.

– Plant Annual Plants: Bluebonnets, Delphinium, Dianthus, Larkspur, Ornamental Cabbage and Kale, Pansies, Poppies, Snapdragons, Stock, Sweet Alyssum, and Violas.

– Plant Trees: Hardy evergreen and deciduous trees. Plant native Texas trees whenever possible. They are generally drought tolerant (once they’re established) and best adapted to Austin soils and climate.

– Feed and Cultivate Soil: Fill new beds with Hill Country Garden Soil, or amend existing beds with 1 to 2 inches of Revitalizer, Turkey, or Farm Style Compost. Once the 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 planting, toss a little Flower Power or bone meal into the hole so that it touches the roots of new transplants. Water plants 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 symbiotic 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.

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.

– Irrigation Check: Do a thorough check-up of the irrigation system and watering tools (hoses, sprinklers, etc.) If you don’t have automatic irrigation, winter is the best time to install an efficient drip irrigation system.

– Buy Corn Gluten early in the month, and have it ready to spread on the lawn and flower beds to help control spring weeds. Apply it as soon as Austin gets its first sunny, spring-like days. The change in soil temperature causes weeds to start sprouting, and that’s when you want to get them! (Corn gluten is a natural pre-emergent herbicide that’s an earth-friendly alternative to highly toxic “weed-n-feed” products.) 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.

– Prune grapes, fruit trees, and other plants for the dormant season. This is your last chance!

– Shear evergreen hedges and 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.

– Planting Potatoes? Find a dry spot in the house or garage for laying out seed potatoes. Potatoes get planted in February around President’s Day, but they need to be cut and set out to dry beforehand.

– Soil Test: If you’ve had a vegetable garden for a few years now, this is a good time to have a soil test done. It’ll help you determine which amendments to add and what to avoid before spring. Your plants will be healthier, and it may even save money in the long run.

Austin lawn and garden winterCheck out the Natural Gardener website for further information, and take a trip to see them this winter.

The REALTORS® at Regent Property Group wish Austinites happy winter gardening – and they also help homebuyers stay on top of the Austin luxury home market. Looking at homes in Avery Ranch or homes in Rob Roy? Regent can help.

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