After all the hubbub and stress of the holidays, it is nice to be able to take a little time to rest and ignore a few things – like our gardens! January is the month for planting our spring-blooming bulbs, inspecting our garden beds, and maybe leafing through magazines and online sites to get ideas or inspiration for changes we might be wanting to make this spring. If you are ambitious, you might want to divide plants that need it – liriope, dwarf mondo, and ornamental grasses.
Our trusty Farmer’s Almanac predicted a wet and cold January for us. It also predicted tropical storms for end of August and early September, so I am paying attention. We have already had 3 days with night-time temperatures falling in the 20’s. If our weather stays cool and rainy, dial down or turn off your irrigation system even more than you might already have for the winter. We all know how important it is for plant roots to be saturated before a freeze, but we do not want standing water or marshy yards that will result in more fungus and brown patch.
Keep flower beds mulched to protect plants in case of yet another freeze. Since we just had a big one, the damage has been done, but it may not be evident yet. Resist the urge to prune too much right now. Our sporadic warm spells may fool some plants into thinking spring is here, and we are not out of possible freezing temperatures completely. Clean up the beds – pull tomato, pepper, and basil plants that were killed by the freeze. If roses are your love, get the beds prepared this month or even next. Enjoy the arugula, broccoli, and mint that survived.
On a good note – Mint is now considered to be an excellent memory booster, so pull those leaves from the pesky, rather invasive plants, and brew some mint tea.
Nancy J. Peiser