University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
AND OTHER JANUARY GARDENING TIPS
Leonard Perry, UVM Extension
Removing snow properly to avoid
plant damage, watching for fungus gnats on indoor plants, and
root crops are some of the gardening activities for this month.
you are clearing your driveway with a snow blower this winter,
direct the snow
away from plants. Otherwise, the blowing ice crystals may damage the
bark of young trees and shrubs. This isn't as much of a concern for
wrapped with burlap.
deicing walks, use one of the granular products with a “chloride”
sodium—these are safer on plants. They
may cost a bit more, but you can often use less. Calcium chloride
works best in the coldest
areas (down to about 5 degrees F). If
below this temperature, don’t use any chemical product but rather
traction. Liquid products don’t track
into buildings as granular ones often do.
Apply any material before ice and snow, if possible, for best
onions, carrots, turnips, and other root crops that you have stored
basement or root cellar should be checked regularly for signs of
vegetables that show any rotting should be removed and any good
parts eaten (if
possible) immediately so they don't spread the disease to other
you’ve stored tender summer bulbs, check them too periodically.
Gladiolus corms are usually pretty easy to
store as long as they don’t freeze.
Dahlia tubers, on the other hand, can die if they get too dry
or stay too wet. If they are stored in a
medium such as sawdust, compost, or similar, and it feels damp and
getting mushy, replace them at once into a drier mix and cut off
portions. If they are starting to
shrivel, add a bit (not too much) moisture to the storage medium.
the calendar to see if your forced bulbs have received their
of cold treatment (12 to 16 weeks). If so, move them into a
50-degree (F) spot
out of direct sun until the flower shoots are about 2 inches tall,
the pots to a sunny 68 degree location. The warmer the temperature,
the flowering stems will be and the faster the bulbs will flower and
you've noticed tiny black flies that look like fruit flies around
plants, they are probably fungus gnats. Though annoying when they
the 1/8-inch-long adult insects are harmless. Their tiny, worm-like
on organic matter in moist soil, which can include plant roots. To
them, allow the soil to dry out between watering, use sticky traps,
soil with a biological control available at stores and labeled for
you're finished with holiday evergreen boughs, use them to mulch
perennials and shrubs. They make a lightweight but insulating layer
protect plants from alternating temperatures like our typical
followed by a deep freeze.
gardening ideas for this month include looking through print and
and plant catalogs, visiting a botanic garden online, keeping your
and water in heated birdbaths changed every few days, and admiring
landscape with snowshoes.
(Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally known horticulturist,
author, gardening consultant, and garden coach; CharlieNardozzi.com).