By Bob Dailey, Master Gardener
Chilly January makes all of us become a little sluggish. There are, however, a lot of engaging garden-related activities you can do.
- Now’s the time to put fruit trees, blackberries, pecans, citrus, and a whole variety of other fruit-bearing plants. Accordingly, it’s our good fortune that the Montgomery County Master Gardener Association is hosting its annual Fruit and Nut Sale on January 29. You’ll find some great plants to purchase and have a good time doing it. If you scroll up on this page, you’ll find a link to the list of plants that will be available.
- Also, if you scroll up, you will see that on January 8, Connor Murnane, the forester with Jones State Park, will speak. The presentation begins at 9 a.m. and is titled “Caring for Your Home Landscape with Trees Too.” Information for registering and attending is listed there.
- Amend your garden soil. Too often, we think that our soil is in great shape. Sometimes we forget that we need to restore nutrients. You might think about getting a soil test. Just look up Texas A&M Soil Laboratory on the web, and all the information will be there. January is the time of year that I usually add a good sprinkling of organic fertilizer, along with about two inches of organic compost on the beds I intend to plant in the spring. I may even add some alfalfa pellets to increase the nitrogen in the soil. The alfalfa also helps feed the beneficial microbes that fertile soil requires.
- Start tomatoes from seed. In January, the first week (say around the sixth of the month), put tomato seeds into a growing medium. They should be ready for transplant into the ground around the first or second week in March. There are some excellent videos on YouTube and articles on the web describing the process.
- Plant onions. Texas Agrilife’s website (https://agrilife.org/etg/2015/02/13/time-to-plant-onions/) has good instructions for planting onions in east Texas now.
- If you haven’t sown wildflower seeds yet. Do it as soon as possible. I planted mine in late November, hoping for cooler weather, but none came. As a result, many of my wildflowers are already emerging.