Mailboxes filled with gardening catalogs signal the beginning of another new gardening season. With gardens blanketed in snow we have time to think about the upcoming year and what changes we want to make in them. A shrub or perennial plant might need to be relocated, you may want to add some new plants to an existing planting, improve lawn health, or increase yields in your vegetable garden. This is a good time to think about these things as well as how your plants grew last year. If you kept a journal reading through it now may offer some insight.
Many who grow vegetables and perennials have problems with plant diseases or insect pests. Keeping notes on what insect pests and plant diseases you have and when they are first detected in your plants can help with future plant maintenance. Before treating plants you should make sure the pest is correctly identified - if pesticides are needed for control it’s important to know the best time to apply them so they are most effective.
Buying disease resistant varieties when ordering seeds or purchasing plants is another way to reduce your pesticide exposure as well as plant maintenance costs.
Below we have included information about our upcoming events, garden and landscape tips for January, and an article written by one of our Master Gardeners. Should you have questions please call or e-mail.
Gardening Hotline: During the winter months we receive many questions about insect pests inside homes, tree and shrub pruning and questions from people who want advice that will help them avoid problems they’ve had in their gardens and landscapes in the past. If you have a question please leave it on our voicemail 331-8415, Ext. 107 or e-mail us at email@example.com Please leave a daytime phone number where we can reach you with any additional questions we may have.
Master Gardeners are a great resource for new gardeners and for troubleshooting home garden and landscape problems including weeds, lawn issues, wildlife, insect pests and plant diseases along with control recommendations. Plant and insect samples can be brought to the office for identification or diagnostic work. During non-hotline hours you can leave your sample with our secretary or in the drop box at the end of the building. Please put insects in a sealed plastic container (so they won’t get crushed) and plant samples in sealed plastic bags. Remember to label them with your name and daytime phone number where we can reach you. We also offer soil pH testing (cost is $3 per sample) and can help you with soil test interpretation.
Saturday, May 11: CCE Wayne County Master Gardener’s 24th Annual Plant Sale – 8 to 11:30 a.m. Got Turkeys? The New Your State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is looking for landowners to help with a large-scale study of wild turkey movements, survival, and harvest. The DEC will begin a four year study by capturing and banding hens between January and March. For more information contact the DEC at (518) 402-8886 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Page 2 of 3 - Info for woodlot owners: Free Woodlot Visits: Call 331-8415, Ext. 107 to schedule a free woodlot site visit. These free site visits typically last up to 3 hours with our Master Forest Owners providing woodlot management information to Wayne County woodlot owners including best management practices for achieving management goals. During the visit our MFO’s can also provide you with additional sources for assistance and information. For information and webinars on forest health visit www.cornellforestconnect.ning.com.
Federal Income Tax on Timber: Tax Tips for the Forest Landowners for their preparation of the 2012 tax returns can be found at www.timbertax.org.
Monthly garden and home grounds tips:
It’s Seed catalog time! Part of an Integrated Pest Management plan is selecting resistant varieties- when ordering seeds you should be able to find this information. Go to www.blogs.cornell.edu/horticulture for Cornell’s 2013 selected vegetable varieties for NYS. Call or e-mail us for a free “Seed Starting” fact sheet 331-8415 ext. 107 or e-mail email@example.com. Please include your name and mailing address. Test the germination rate of old seeds by placing some in a moist paper towel placed into a plastic bag. Put the bag in a warm place. Check in a few days for germination.
Garden guide for January –By Dave Reville, Master Gardener, CCE Wayne County
Happy Gardening New Year to you and may it be a productive one! At this time of year we make many lists of things to do. I have assembled some garden tips for you to consider.
Plan the vegetable garden, flower gardens and landscape plantings now and order seeds this month. Make this your year of action and not procrastination! Prepare paper plans and make lists of changes you wish to make in the landscape so you have a blueprint to follow. Check out the new plant varieties in myriad of catalogs that you receive and make a list of the plants you like with attention to hardiness.
It is a good idea to check stored bulbs, tubers and any vegetable produce and discard any that are moldy.
If you have stored potted bulbs in October for forcing, now is a good time to bring them out of cold storage or from sites you buried the pots near your foundation in order to initiate growth and flowering.
Plant Amaryllis bulbs in pots and watch them grow. Expect flowering to occur in about six to eight weeks.
Bulbs that have flowered for Christmas should be watered and fertilized. Allow foliage to grow all summer, and then dry off in the fall. Give the plant a three-month resting stage then resume watering in January and return to more light. Plan on repotting every few years.
Page 3 of 3 - If you saved coleus and geranium plants from the garden, this is a good time to pinch them so they remain bushy and not tall and spindly. Monitor then for whitefly outbreaks and take action with organic insecticides for houseplants should you find a large population of insect buildup.
This is a good month to bring spring indoors by forcing small branches of flowering shrubs and trees to bloom inside. Great plants for this include: pussy willow, forsythia, flowering cherry and crab apples and quince as well as others you care to experiment with.
Continue to be miserly with feeding and watering houseplants at this time of year, unless they are flowering. If your houseplants are growing at all now, they’re growing slowly and they require minimal food and water. Too much of either combined with the low light conditions at this time of year can cause problems. Locate your houseplants in a sunny, south window in order to make the most of the light that is available and turn them occasionally to promote even growth. Remember to not place plants directly on cold windowsills as roots will become chilled and in some cases even frozen. This is especially critical where drapes or blinds can seal off the plants behind them at night.
If you have not already done so, plant your living balled and burlapped Christmas tree as soon as possible. Mulch the tree following planting and stake if necessary in a site that is windy. It is a good idea to wrap the tree in burlap the first year or two, to prevent wind damage, which will cause drying and dying especially on the windward side.
Is your old Christmas tree on the burn pile or at the roadside for pickup? if so retrieve it and use it as a shield to protect rhododendrons and other broadleaved evergreens from the drying sun and wind. Branches of discarded trees can be used as a protective cover in the perennial bed or over strawberries where it will help trap the snow which is a great insulator. Old trees also make great bird feeding stations as well when a feeder is placed within or near them.
If you need to use de-icing materials, do not use sodium chloride –salt- as it can damage plants, concrete, and pose problems for the water table. Try to use calcium chloride melting products, which are easier on plants and the environment. Read the labels on all the ice melting products and note the caution statements.
As you continue your “arm-chair gardening” at this time of year, visit bookstores and libraries to note what is new in the trade as well as contact the Cornell website at www.cornell.gardening.edu.