Garden, Plant, Cook!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

December Pruning, January 1st Potato Planting, Still Time To Enter My Give-A-Way

Dear Folks,

I will be posting my monthly Planting Tips for January in a couple of days, but I wanted to give you a heads-up on some pruning you should be doing NOW.

When your asparagus looks like this, it is time to cut back to the ground.  The new spears will break ground the end of January, beginning of February.  Having the "feathers" grow all spring, summer and fall, means lots of energy to strong roots, which translates into more to harvest. 

Along with pruning the asparagus, Deane usually starts the deciduous tree pruning (apple, peach, apricot, plum and figs) this time of year to get it all done before the trees pop into bud in mid-to-late January.  Mild winters have seen blooms in early January, not a good thing.

Potato Planting

My tradition is to plant my regular potatoes (not sweet potatoes) on January 1st, which is my mental signal that the holidays are over and spring is around the corner.

The regular potatoes need the cool winter to grow nicely and are ready to harvest in late April - May for new potatoes.  If you have not grown potatoes here in the desert, russets are very difficult to grow as the heat in late spring causes the plants to go down, signalling time to harvest.  I always save some of the spuds and store in my frig for planting out next January 1st.

Starting Seeds for Later Transplanting

I am also jump starting some seeds for transplanting out on or about February 1st in a small greenhouse I decided to set up and use this year.

In the past when I have started seeds in December for plants like tomato, basil, eggplant, and pepper I have shuttled the trays back and forth into our laundry shed overnight - the water heater is in there, then drag them out during the day.  To minimize that work and have, in theory, more of everything started, I purchased a greenhouse late last year and actually got it set up last week.  It is the perfect size for me and I can open it up completely on nice days for air circulation - air circulation is critical in a greenhouse to avoid "sick greenhouse" issues.

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-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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