How Does Your Garden Grow? – January 2015

Louise Grabell

How does my garden grow? Well, it’s not! I am not a winter gardener. At this point in time, I need a break! However, some crops and flowers do well in winter if you are full of vim and vigor, unlike me. Lettuce and herbs like cooler temps (but not freezing). Snapdragons and pansies are flowers for the winter. For me, well I am really exercising—my mind with plans for the spring.

What should you be doing now? Buy your citrus fertilizer so you will be ready to throw the stuff around your trees early next month whenever rain is in the forecast. This will save you on your water bill and get the fertilizer into the soil where it can be absorbed. Don’t be tempted to throw around that ammonium sulfate you have in your garage to green things up. Now is not the time to be waking up your trees and shrubs. The only pruning you are allowed to do at the end of January is to cut back your lantanas. They can be pruned to within four inches of the ground. Fresh new sprouts will appear early in the spring. If any citrus branches need to be pruned, do it quickly before spring buds form. No other pruning should be done at this time, except for safety purposes.

If you’ve got containers that once held flowers, now is a good time to dump the soil from those containers into your flower beds where it will get some fertilization. Early in the spring, buy new potting soil for your containers and start all over again. Potted plants deplete the soil of many of its trace minerals and nitrates and leave it unfit for the new plants you will be purchasing.

Of course, you’ve already set your irrigation timer on a winter setting. Trees and shrubs can be irrigated every 10 to 14 days during the winter, assuming they are being watered two to three hours each time. The problem most of us have is that other things are tied into the same valves on our irrigation system, so we have to be careful to maintain sufficient water for everything. That’s why we should all have xeriscaped our estates in the first place! Who knew?

The Master Gardeners of SaddleBrooke have a website: for all up to date information and events for our community. Garden questions? You can reach our SaddleBrooke Garden Helpline by calling Pat at  520-407-6459. Your phone call will be forwarded to a Master Gardener Volunteer who will assist you in the solution of your problem.

Remember, nothing brings more tranquility to the heart than a beautiful garden.

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Jeffrey C. Silvertooth, Director, Cooperative Extension, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, The University of Arizona.

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