January’s to-do list for gardeners

By Tom Dominguez

In preparation for your spring garden, here’s a checklist for January.

l The life of the flowering pot plant received as a Christmas gift can be prolonged with proper care. Keep the plant out of range of heating ducts and away from heating units. Keep in a cool room at night, preferably at 60 to 65 degrees F.

l Now is an excellent time to transplant mature or established trees and shrubs.

l Be sure to prune back the top of established trees and shrubs before moving. Remove about one-third to one-half of the top to compensate for roots lost in digging.

l Plan your flower and vegetable garden now before the rush of spring planting.

l Sow seeds in flats or containers in protected structures to establish growth before hot weather arrives. Petunias, begonias, and slow-growing transplants should be sown in early January. Warm-temperature plants, such as tomatoes, peppers, marigolds, and periwinkles should be sown later in January or February.

l Put a light application of fertilizer on established pansy plants. Use one-half pound of ammonium sulfate per 100 square feet of bed area. Repeat the application every 4 to 6 weeks. Dried blood meal or cottonseed meal are also excellent sources of fertilizer for pansies. Be sure to water well after applying fertilizers.

l Prepare beds and garden area for spring planting.

l Select and order gladiolus corms for February and March planting. Plant at two-week intervals to prolong flowering period.

l Check junipers and other narrow-leaf evergreens for bagworms in pouches; if left on the plants, the worms can start their cycle again by emerging from the pouches in the spring and feeding on the foliage. Removing the pouches by hand and burning them is an excellent means of reducing the potential damage next spring.

l Rose pruning may be done in March. Remember that climbers and other once-blooming roses are best pruned after the spring flowers have faded.

Tom Dominguez is an extension agent wit the Quay County Extension, NMSU Extension Service. he can be reached by emailing tdomingu@nmsu.edu or calling 461-0562.