January in the Contra Costa Garden
January Garden To Dos
General Garden Care
- Protect tender plants if frosts are predicted: use outdoor lights or build a light weight frame and cover. Antitranspirants such as ‘Cloudcover’ will provide a bit of protection. http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/GARDEN/ENVIRON/frostdamage.html
- Monitor rains/soil moisture; make sure plants are not drought stressed.
- Avoid compacting wet soils by walking on or working them.
- Remove winter weeds before they set seed.
- Watch for snail and slug damage. Hand pick, trap or use iron phosphate baits: http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7427.html.
- Chop up old Christmas trees and use as mulch around acid loving plants.
- Chop up all prunings into small, 4”, pieces for your compost pile or shred.
- Design and plan your spring/summer garden.
- Order seeds - try something new this year.
- Start a garden journal; online versions are available.
- Check your worm compost bin - make sure it is not too cold; bring into an entry way or back porch if necessary.
- Clean sprayers well and check nozzles for clogging.
- Get lawnmower blades sharpened. Replace air filters.
- Set up a water storage system to save rainwater.
Fruits & Vegetables
- Prune dormant fruit trees: peaches, plums, apples, pears, cherries, nectarines.
- Do not prune apricots.
- Feed citrus according to package instructions.
- Spray peaches and nectarines with fixed copper for peach leaf curl:
- http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7426.html and http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7481.html
- Spray apple, pear, peach and nectarine, apricot trees w/ dormant oil to control scale, aphid & mite eggs. http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/TOOLS/PNAI/pnaishow.php?id=39
- Plant bareroot fruit trees, berries, rhubarb, asparagus, grapes.
- Gather scion wood for fruit tree grafting. Scion wood is available at the California Rare Fruit Growers scion exchanges: http://www.crfg.org/.
- Take root cuttings of perennial vegetables such as artichokes and rhubarb. Root cuttings are easy to take and are a reliable way of propagating many perennial plants.
- Clean seed starting trays and containers - use a 10% bleach solution to kill damping off fungal spores.
- Plant seedlings of frost hardy vegs in prepared beds.
- Obtain enough labels and a good wax pencil for labeling seedlings.
Flowers & Landscaping
- Prune dormant shrubs: Hibiscus syriacus, Buddleia, Lagerstroemia, Cotinus coggygria, Hydrangea spp., roses, etc. For rose care, see http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7465.html
- Do not prune spring flowering shrubs.
- Re-pot conifers into larger containers.
- Take root cuttings of perennials such as Acanthus mollis, Anchusa, Anemone, Asclepias, Baptisia, Echinops, Erodium, Eryngium, Geranium, Limonium, Lisianthus, Papaver, Phlox, Primula denticulata, Pulsatilla, Limonium, Verbascum. Shrubs: Aesculus parviflora, Chaenomeles, Clerodendrum, Daphne, Rubus, Vaccinium. Root cuttings are easy to take and are a reliable way of propagating many perennial plants.
- Take hardwood cuttings of deciduous shrubs for propagation.
- Plant bareroot roses and ornamental trees and shrubs.
- Plant 4” color annuals and perennials in previously-prepared beds: Calendula officinalis (Pot marigold), Iberis sempervirens (candytuft), Pericallis (cineraria), Dianthus sp. (pinks), Primula sp., Papaver nudicaule (Icelandic poppies), pansies, Antirrhinum (snapdragon), Matthiola (stock), violas.
- Bring in branches of quince, forsythia, and flowering cherry to force indoors.
Local Weather Information
Linked data is from the California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS) weather stations. Visit CIMIS web site.
Contra Costa County Stations
USDA zones range from 8-9B
Sunset zones range from 7-17
Average max. temp. 63°F, 17.2°C
Average min. temp. 41.5°F, 5.3°C
Average rainfall 3.14”, 7.96 cm.
January is named for Janus, the god of doors and gateways. In Finnish, the month is called tammikuu, meaning "month of the oak".
For real-time flood and high water information: http://www.usgs.gov/state/state.asp?State=CA.