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Time for my monthly planting guide for the desert southwest and USDA Zone 9b and above.
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My Personal New Year's Tradition is to Plant Potatoes! That get's my "spring" gardening going and kind of closes out the major festivities. So on New Year's Day I get them in, covered with mulch and give them a sprinkle of water. I always step back and smile at the mound of leaf mulch I know hides the start of my potato patch.
SEED Selection: Where possible choose short maturity (75 days or less) for maximum production. Plant short rows in succession of veggies like carrots ( 2 feet at a time) to provide continuous harvest potential (can you really use 12 feet of carrots all at once?). Also, start seeds like tomato, basil, eggplant and peppers indoors under lights or in a greenhouse to set out February 1st (with frost protection)
Fruit, Bare Root
Garlic, Green (planting cloves for use as scallions through spring - they will NOT produce heads)
Greens (lettuce, kale, arugula, spinach etc.)
Ornamental Cabbage/Kale (Brassica Oleracea)
EDIBLE FLOWERS TO PLANT:
Jasmine Sambac (Arabian)
Scented Geraniums (with protection)
Sweet William (Dianthus)
GARDEN TIPS for January
As we are nearing the end of the primary perennial planting season, I like to celebrate the start of the new year by planting at least one new plant on January 1st.
Celebrate New Year’s Day by planting potatoes. (I like the purple ones because they are unusual and have more anti-oxidants.)
November through January can be a ‘rainy’ season for the desert. You can usually hold off on regular watering if you have received a half inch or more of rain within 2 days of normal watering days. Make good use of your water meter to determine soil moisture.
If rains are heavy this month, in addition to foregoing some water days, you may need to put down Ironite or green sand to compensate for mineral bonding (which makes iron unavailable to the plants) due to both the excess water and the cold soil.
Prune citrus and deciduous fruit trees no later than early January before flowering starts. Shrub trees such as pineapple guava which bloom in late spring, need to be pruned later -- in April approximately.
WHY Edible Flowers? To attract pollinators to your fruit, herbs and veggies year round and to use as safe garnishes and additions to your dining table.
FROST damage: Do not prune until danger of frost is over - the damaged plant protects the lower growth.
FROST/FREEZE NOTE: Have protective covers ready anytime the overnight forecast is 40 or lower.
One of the delights of spring is the peach and apricot bloom time - clouds of light to dark pink flowers cover the ends of the tree branches with the bees busily doing their work.
Just as the tree's flower buds are starting open you can select a few branches to 'force' into bloom inside for a lovely arrangement. I emphasize 'a few' because you will loose that potential fruit.
Select a branch and clip off 12-18 inches - arrange in a vase of room temperature water or slightly warmer, after re-cutting the branches under water. You will be treated to a spring display as one another the flower buds are 'forced' to open in the warmth of your home. Change or freshen the water each day - if you need to, re-cut the branch, under water, every several days to keep the moisture flowing up to the buds.
At the end of the display, add to the compost pile, or dry and use as kindling for the grill or firepit.
Check out my recipes for New Year's Day on my "12 Days of Christmas Post"
2017 Month-By-Month Planting Wall Calendar has similar information, at your finger tips, for each month
-- Catherine, The Herb Lady
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