This month we are trying something a little different: We are including our neighbors over in the desert Southwest in our garden chores here. While we could only talk with regards to USDA hardiness zones, that would give you just partial information, as 8a Dallas and 8a at Las Cruces and in parts of Arizona are not created equal.
Soil differences and average rainfall vary so enormously in such areas that we can not make blanket statements about what to plant or prune. So look for breakout notes on various areas and, as always, ask your county’s extension office to get even more specific information.
Start seeds. Texas gardeners can begin tomato and pepper seeds indoors, but make certain to use a expanding light or maintain the seeds with a bright window. Rotate your seeds daily to help them grow strong, straight stalks.
Desert Southwest gardeners can begin seeds of larkspur, poppies and other wildflowers, which may be somewhat difficult to find if you actually want them in your garden.
Margie Grace – Grace Design Associates
care of fruit trees. If you live in the desert Southwest, you’ll want to receive your fruit trees at the ground as early in January as possible and prune your deciduous fruit trees and grapes.
Texas gardeners need to spray their own fruit trees with dormant oil and sharpen their pruning shears also, as January is your last opportunity to make those cuts.
Plant vegetables. There are lots of vegetables to be planted this month! Both Texas and desert Southwest gardeners can plant broccoli, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, Asian greens, spinach, kale, cauliflower, collards, lettuce, mustard, artichokes and asparagus crowns. Make sure to prepare your beds by simply amending the soil if necessary and by choosing a bright, sunny place for the ideal harvest.
More on growing vegetables in cool weather
Gardening with Confidence®
Add yearly color. For most areas it is still a fantastic time to plant pansies, snapdragons, cyclamens, violas, inventory and alyssum in garden beds as well as containers. These annuals enjoy sunny sites but will tolerate some light, dappled shade.
Jean Marsh Design
Plant perennials, trees and shrubs. Trees should be planted in both Texas and the desert Southwest in January, but with a few differences.
In Texas, plant evergreen and deciduous trees; at the desert Southwest, make your shade trees at the ground as early in January as you can. Bare-root trees should be planted before they leaf out.
For these areas, it is still a fantastic time to plant shrubs and perennials.
Desert Southwest gardeners can plant desert marigold (Baileya multiradiata), guara (Gaura lindheimeri), angelita daisy (Hymenoxys acaulis) and canyon penstemon (Penstemon pseudospectabilis).
Texas gardeners can plant blackfoot daisy (Melampodium leucanthum), autumn sage (Salvia greggii), Mexican mint marigold (Tagetes lucida) and copper canyon daisy (Tagetes lemmonii).
Protect your crops. In warm areas, winter may sport some fairly cold temperatures, so it is important to protect your crops from freeze damage.
Throw a frost blanket over your own vegetable transplants, or sew Styrofoam cups smaller cacti and succulents. Make certain to remove the coverings by about 9 a.m. the following morning, since the sun will heat up everything; you do not need to make a muggy greenhouse outside there.
J. Peterson Garden Design
Check your irrigation. Texas gardeners that have inground irrigation systems should conduct a test on all zones to be certain there are no breaks in the lines or heads.
Desert Southwest gardeners will likely be on drip irrigation, however, these systems need to be checked occasionally as well. Be certain the drip emitters do not have any damage from critters chewing on them, and that they’re reaching the plants that need watering.