Garden Monthly Update: January 2017

Garden News

In January I had a steady harvest of snow peas, cabbage, carrots, bok choy, lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, dill, spinach, lemons, tangelo's, cauliflower and broccoli. The brussel sprouts are coming along and I started a second planting of cabbage. A bit of kale harvested in January and expect February to be kale month along with a bunch of carrots. The basil came through the cold spells pretty well and continued to supply more than enough all winter.

The cauliflower and broccoli have been harvested throughout January. I still have a few plants that have not yet reached maturity, so hopefully these will be ready in February.

The nasturtiums, poppy's, marigolds and African daisy's all started to bloom at the end of January.

I started transplanting the pepper seedling's that I started in December into the garden. In total I will plant 14 or 15 sweet and chili pepper plants. The potted tomato plants that I kept protected through the winter will be transplanted in early February as the threat of frost appears to be gone.

I will also plant my summer squash and eggplant seedling's in February.

 

Web site updates - Separate recipe page and separate Q&A page added for easy access to all recipes and Q&A's.

 

January garden harvest picture - cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, peas, spinach, kale, lettuce, bok choy, cilantro, dill, nasturtiums, basil

 

Highlights

Nice harvest of cauliflower and broccoli this month.

 

The snow pea production is in full force with 1 - 2lbs of peas harvested every few days.

 

The black krim tomato did well through the winter and continued to provide 10 - 14 tomatoes a week.

Lolights

The tomatillo plant was not able to put out a second harvest.

 

The mild temperatures have allowed some of those pesky green worms to survive.

 

"Hot" Topic

Compost - It is time to get your planting area/s revitalized and composting is one of the best soil amendments you can make. It is great for adding nutrients needed for healthy plants and it can also be used as a top mulch to keep your plants at a comfortable temperature. If you have a very alkaline soil (higher clay content), then mix some compost into your soil along with other soil amendments like manure, at least 6 - 12" into the soil. If you have a raised bed with neutral or slightly acidic soil, then you can just add a compost mixture to the top layer of your bed.  You need to amend your soil for each planting season. Your ground layer planting area with clay, will go back to a clay based soil as the organic material breaks down.

Tip of the Month

Pest control - As the daytime temperatures rise, so can the pest damage to your garden. You can plant insect repelling herbs like, Thyme w/cabbage, Tansy, Nasturtiums as a trap crop, Basil to ward off flies and mosquitos, Lavender to repel ants. Another good way to control the un-wanted pests is with beneficial insects like, Lacewings for moths, aphids, thrips, mites, mealy bugs, scale and whiteflies, Dragonflies to control mosquitos, horseflies and gnats, Trichogramma Wasps (will not sting) for all kinds of bad bug control. Also ladybugs, big-eyed bugs and praying mantis are great for pest control in the garden. Many can be purchased (lacewings, ladybugs, praying mantis) at your local nursery.

February Do List

1. Fertilize citrus and fruit trees.

2. Prune grapes 80 - 90%, peaches/plums 40 - 50%.

3. Fertilize all planting areas (compost is a good natural fertilizer).

4. Add top dressing of mulch and compost to bare soil.

5. Prune roses and dead/damaged or diseased limbs from shade/ornamental trees.

February Don't List

1. Don't cheat on soil preparation.

2. Don't delay weed control.

3. Don't fertilize dormant Bermuda until April/May.

4. Don't use pre-emergent near areas where you are planting vegie or any seeds.

5. Don't plant roses with western exposure.

February Planting

Vegetables: (Blue font identifies "ideal" planting time items)

Seeds - beets, bok choy, carrots, chard, collards, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, mustard, green onions, peas, potato, radish, spinach, summer squash and turnips.

Transplants - artichoke, asparagus, onion (bulb), peppers, tomato.

 

 

Herbs: Anise, Basil, Bay, Caraway, Calendula, Chamomile, Chives, Cilantro, Epazote, Fennel, Dill, Feverfew, French Tarragon, Lavender, Lemon balm, Lemon grass, Marjoram, Mint, Oregano, Parsley, Rue, Safflower, Sage, Savory, Thyme.

 

Flowers: Alyssum, Begonias, Chrysanthemum,  Coreopsis, Dianthus, Gaillardia, Hibiscus, Marigold, Nasturtium, Petunia, Poppy, Snapdragon, Society garlic, Sunflower, Sweet Peas

 

Fruit:  Cantaloupe, Watermelon

 

Recipe of the Month

-  Jicama, Orange & Fennel Salad

  -  All of the ingredients are available in the market now, if you are not growing them yourself.

 

Best Advice

Composting is easy to do and is a great way to recycle your dead plant material and all those kitchen scraps. Many city's will give you a free compost bin (garbage can with bottom cut-off and holes for air circulation). Your compost bin needs to be 80 - 150 degrees to actually be actively breaking down. It is better to place your compost bin in a shady area as the heat it needs is from microbial activity of the organic material breaking down and not external heat from the sun. In order to reach the proper temperature you need the right ratio (approximately 2 or 3:1) of dry or brown material to wet or green material and it needs to be kept moist with enough air circulation. Brown material includes, dry leaves, straw, dry grass clippings (no rhizomes), shredded paper (including cardboard, newspaper), yard trimming's (no large stems), pine needles and sawdust. Green material includes, wet grass clippings, fresh garden trimming's, kitchen scraps (no oil, meat or dairy), coffee or tea grounds and barnyard manure (plant eating yard animals like chickens). See planting guide compost page for more info.

Favorites

Garden Books: Extreme Gardening by Dave Owens and Desert Gardening for Beginners by Cathy Cromell, Linda Guy and Lucy Bradley.

Web Sites:

 

Questions/Answers

Q: Why is my compost decomposing slowly?

A: Slow decomposition can have several causes. The ones most noted are, lack of nitrogen, poor aeration, too dry, pile is too small. Add green material for more nitrogen, turn the pile to get more aeration, add water to get it to a moist condition, and if your pile is just too small add more brown and green to make it at least 1 cubic yard. Invest in a compost thermometer and check it regularly to make sure it is 80 - 150 degrees. The hotter, the more microbial activity equals faster decomposition. Don't let it get over 160 degrees (very difficult to do), as this can then be a fire hazard.

 

2017 Preview

Biointensive Gardening and Square foot Gardening

January Pictures

Link to Photos Here

 

Related Topics

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