Late January Garden Chores

Author: Meera, January 22, 2013
Acid-loving plants include this Camellia japonica attractive blooms and foliage

Acid-loving plants include this Camellia japonica


With spring only two months away, there is still plenty of work to be done in Northern California gardens. The following is my list of things to do on the Henny Penny Farmette.


Apply iron sulfate to acid-lovers

Camellias belong to a group of plants that thrive in soil with a pH balance that is acidic. Examples of a some other acid-loving plants include azaleas, begonias, caladiums, gardenias, hydrangeas, impatiens, Japanese maples, jasmine, and primulas, to name a few.


This time of year I give these plants an application of iron sulfate to maintain the plant’s green color. My blueberry bushes and citrus trees also benefit from receiving an application of iron sulfate or the non-staining Iron Plus.


Build or purchase compost bins and raised-bed earth boxes

Every garden needs compost and bins make it easy to produce that nutrient rich material that plants love. This is the time to build or buy compost bins and also the raised bed boxes. We’ve put in eight and have plans to build more.


Prune fruit trees

Prune fruit trees for shape and also to produce fruit. For example, I cut back the peaches and nectarines by about 2/3 of last year’s growth. The new growth bears only once. Hence, the need for vigorous pruning. I cut back the apricots by about 1/3 of last year’s growth, paying special attention to any spurs (usually productive for three to five years). Branches with spurs that age will have to be replaced by cutting them away so the tree can produce new branches with fruiting spurs.


Dwarf nectarine loses its leaves during winter

Nectarines need pruning and spraying for Peach Leaf Curl


Fruit and nut trees that require very little pruning (mostly to eliminate dead wood or crossing branches) include cherries, apples, pears, and almonds. I tend to cut away small branches of the almonds. The nuts will be born on new spurs and shoots.


Apply dormant oil to roses

Roses, once they’ve been pruned, need an application of dormant oil such as Bonide All Seasons Spray Oil (for organic gardens). The oil is beneficial for eliminating over-wintering pest populations by smothering the pests’ eggs. To halt fungus-precipitated diseases like rust, blackspot, and powdery mildrew, spray roses with liquid copper.


Dress the lawn with a winter fertilizer

Feed the lawn with a good quality lawn fertilizer to keep it green, growing, and resistant to rust and diseases arising from malnutrition.


Spray liquid copper to curb Peach Leaf Curl

An application of liquid copper keeps peaches and nectarine trees resistant to the disfiguring curling of new leaf growth.


I know that the work I do now in the garden will pay big dividends when warm weather arrives and the chores of planting and tending vegetables begins. The above list is my garden chores checklist for this time of year. Feel free to use it to build a checklist for your garden.









Leave a Reply