In The Garden
What to Plant
Bedding Plants - Plants to add to the garden during the coolest months include dianthus, begonia, pansy, petunia, viola, lobelia, dusty miller, and snapdragon.
See Gardening With Annuals in Florida: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg319
Bulbs – So many choices! Plant crinum, agapanthus, clivia, gloriosa lily, society garlic, spider lilies, rain lilies, day lilies, African iris, bulbine and gladiola bulbs. Provide a layer of mulch for protection from cold temperatures.
Herbs - Hardy herbs to plant now include parsley (flat Italian or curled), sage, rosemary,
Thyme, chives, lavender, cilantro, mint, catnip, and lemon balm. Arugula too.
Market in Puerto Sto. Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala Jenifer Marx
Vegetables - Vegetables that can be planted in January include arugula, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, Chinese cabbage, cabbage, cucumbers, endive/escarole, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, watermelon, carrots, cauliflower, collards, lettuce, mustard, English or snow peas, Irish potatoes, radishes, celery, kale, kohlrabi, spinach, squash, sweet corn, Swiss chard, and turnips. Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide: http://edis.ifas.ufl. edu/vh021
Sow the following for transplanting in February: arugula, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cantaloupe, Chinese cabbage, cauliflower, sweet corn, cucumber, eggplant, kale, peppers, squash, watermelon, kohlrabi, endive/escarole, beets, collards, lettuce, mustard, English or snow peas, spinach, Swiss chard, tomatoes and turnip seeds.
Tip - To save space when seeding carrots and radishes, sow them in the same row because carrots are slower to germinate. The radishes will be harvested before the carrots need the space. Also, cover the seeds with some vermiculite to help mark the row.
Deciduous fruit - Now is a good time to plant deciduous fruit trees. This will give roots time to develop before the warm and dry spring months.
Dooryard Fruit Varieties - https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg248
What to Do
Cold protection - Frost or freezes are likely this month and next. Be ready to cover tender plants to minimize damage and make sure covers extend all the way to the ground and remove when temperature rises above freezing. Don’t let plastic tarps touch foliage. If a cold-sensitive plant is too large to cover completely, wrap the trunk with several layers of cloth or newspaper. Have a plan for moving tender potted plants to protected areas.
Turf Care - Yellowing turf areas generally greens up with application of iron or a minor nutrient spray. This is a good time to replant hard-to-mow and shady areas with ground covers.
Continue fertilizing hardy annuals and container grown plants monthly. Discontinue fertilizing other outdoor plants except vegetables.
Delay any major pruning until after winter. Plants are pruned to affect flower or fruit production, to direct the growth and shape of the plant, to change the look of the plant, and to promote plant health. During the dormant season prune to get rid of dead or diseased portions.
It’s a good time to prune crepe myrtles removing seed pods, crossed branches and extraneous twigs.
Renew mulch to protect plants from cold and to conserve water and control weeds.
Irrigation - Lawns and landscape plants are dormant and need minimal irrigation. Water turf to a depth of ¾” every no more than once a week, preferably once every 12-14 days.
***Examine plants for problems. To control scale on citrus, shrubs, camellias, and deciduous fruit trees, apply horticultural oil while plants are dormant. Apply copper spray to mangos after bloom. Insect Management in the Home Garden: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/vh036
Extend the life of poinsettias and Christmas cactus by putting them in a cool, bright location. Water them when the soil surface begins to dry. Poinsettias blooms often last into late March. This year I have a seedling poinsettia about 8” high that popped up in a pot where I have a poinsettia that has survived for three years.
Develop a long-range plan based on Florida Friendly Landscaping practices. The website http://www.floridayards.org/ offers landscaping tips, examples of landscape design, and lists of plants that require little care, water or fertilizer and that attract wildlife. The site also has an interactive landscape design guide.
graphic courtesy of Hernando County, FL.
Enjoy planning your 2020 vegetable garden. The following website is all about which plants grow well from transplants and which don’t and guides you how to start plants from seed and transplant them. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/vh027
Boundary Line Trees and Fences; Know Your Rights and Responsibilities. Read the Handbook of Florida Fence and Property Law: Trees and Landowner Responsibility,
A short EDIS document that explains landowners’ rights and responsibilities regarding trees on boundary lines, overhanging branches and more. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fe962
Pay attention to your indoor plants