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Gardening


Gardeners' Checklist For January Includes Several Educational Programs

by Dr. William M. Johnson, Galveston County Extension Agent - Horticulture
January 7, 2005

Gardening: Christmas SnowOn Christmas Day, several of my friends in the Houston-Galveston area sent e-mails with photos of their snow-covered landscapes including the picturesque setting shown above in Santa Fe. The blanket of snow that covered local landscapes on Christmas Day was as much a surprise as it was beautiful. However, the most frequently asked question after the Christmas Holiday was not a surprise as gardeners are very concerned about how to care for freeze-damaged plants.

Photo Credit: Alcestis "Cooky" Oberg

 

SATURDAY, JANUARY 8: A Home Gardener’s Success with Square Foot Gardening. 9:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. at the Galveston County Extension Office. Master Gardener John Jons is a square foot gardening enthusiast and will present a slide presentation on basic designs, soil preparation, plant selection and establishment, insect pest & disease control, and general care. Class size limited to 18 participants. No fee but reservation required (281-534-3413, Ext. 6 or GALV3@wt.net).

SATURDAY, JANUARY 15: Successful Spring Vegetable Gardening. 9:00-11:30 a.m. at the Galveston County Extension Office. Master Luke Stripling is a longtime home gardener and will present a slide presentation proven techniques for a productive spring vegetable garden. No fee but reservation required (281-534-3413, Ext. 6 or GALV3@wt.net).

We had a White Christmas, the New Year has arrived and the days are getting longer! To keep up the momentum, Master Gardeners have planned several educational programs that will be of benefit to area gardeners. Texas Master Gardeners are volunteers who have completed an intensive training on a variety of horticultural tropics and who provide valuable assistance to the County Extension Office.

Review the following educational program announcements and make notes on your gardening calendars to attend programs that are of interest to you. While all educational programs are free-of-charge, note that some programs require a reservation due to space limitations. Reservations may be made in person at the County Extension Office located at 5115 Highway 3 in Dickinson or by calling 281-534-3413, ext. 6. Reservations may also be made through our website address (http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/index.htm) or by e-mail (GALV3@wt.net).

Gardening by the Square Foot Seminar

Saturday, January 8: Gardening by the Square Foot. 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon at the Galveston County Extension Office, 5115 Highway 3, Dickinson. Presented by Master Gardener John Jons who is a gardening by the square foot enthusiast. Basic designs, soil preparation, plant selection and establishment, insect pest & disease control, and general care. Class size limited to 18 participants. No fee but reservation required.

Spring Vegetable Gardening Seminar

Saturday, January 15: Successful Spring Vegetable Gardening. 9:00-12:00 noon at the Galveston County Extension Office, 5115 Highway 3, Dickinson. Presented by Master Gardener Luke Stripling. Soil preparation, variety selection, disease/insect management. No fee but reservation required.

Peach & Plum Workshop

Saturday, January 29: Peach & Plum Seminar. 9:00-12:00 noon at the Galveston County Extension Office, 5115 Highway 3, Dickinson. Presented by Master Gardener Herman Auer. Variety selection, planting, disease/insect management, harvesting and pruning. No registration fee but pre-registration is required.

Fruit Tree Sale & Seminar

Saturday, February 5: Master Gardeners Fruit Tree Sale and Seminar. Seminar begins at 8:00 a.m. with speaker Heidi Sheesley of TreeSearch Farms. Sale begins at 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. with many varieties of fruit trees and citrus. Carbide Park’s Wayne Johnson Community Center, 4102 FM 519 in La Marque. Open to the general public. No reservation required.

Master Gardener Training Course

Monday, February 21: Galveston County Master Gardener Training Course. Starts Monday, February 21, and every Tuesday and Thursday from 1-5 p.m. thereafter through April 5 at the Galveston County Extension Office, 5115 Highway 3, Dickinson. Application deadline is January 31.

Gardener Checklist for January

Now to January's other gardening suggestions. The month of January is an ideal time to carry out many needed activities that will help ensure healthy and vigorous growing plants when the growing season starts this spring. Review the following checklist for activities that need to done around the home site.

- As I write this week’s column, I’m at my family home in Virginia. On Christmas Day, several of my friends in the Houston-Galveston area sent e-mails with pictures of their snow-covered landscapes. The blanket of snow on Christmas Day was as surprising as it was beautiful.

However, the most frequently asked question after the Christmas Holiday was not a surprise as gardeners are very concerned about how to care for freeze-damaged plants. Cold-sensitive landscape plants, including many types of tropicals and subtropicals, suffered freeze injury resulting from cold temperatures during the Christmas Season. Fortunately, temperatures did not dip into the teens or single digits.

Do not be in a rush to prune back dead-looking branches. If at all possible, wait until spring or when buds start to swell to do any pruning. What looks dead now may not actually be dead. In addition, pruning freeze-damaged branches now will stimulate many types of plants to bud out early should we get a warm spell of weather during the winter season.

These recommendations are based on sound horticultural principles. In reality, neighborhood deed restrictions, city ordinances or landscape appearances may necessitate some pruning of freeze-damaged branches–particularly in the front yard.

- Keep the lawn free of heavy leaf buildup to prevent smothering the grass. A few leaves won't hurt the lawn but leaves should not be allowed to completely cover the lawn, especially if they become heavily packed and stay wet for long periods.

- Continue to select and plant ornamental trees and shrubs to fill landscape needs. Always plan ahead before planting. Remember that like little puppies, plants grow up. In the case of some trees, they can get large so be prudent about what you plant below electrical and telephone lines. The tree–and the homeowner–will ultimately lose in such standoffs.

- Apply dormant oil sprays to control scale and other hard-to-manage insect pests on landscape trees and shrubs. Read and follow all directions provided by the manufacturer.

- Select and order gladiolus corms for February and March planting. Planting at two-week intervals will prolong the flowering period. Choose some of the newer varieties for a vivid color display.

- Last but not least, don't forget to plant those bulbs that you put in your refrigerator to provide for a chill treatment. They won't flower in the fridge!

Dr. Johnson is a horticulturist with the Galveston County
Extension Office of Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas A&M University. Visit his web site at http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/index.htm


Gardening: Scale insects and pampas grass - July 17, 2004 article

Gardening: Bananas - August 1, 2004 article

Gardening: August Gardening Calendar - August 16, 2004 article

Gardening: Trio Of Extension Programs Includes Pear Tasting, Master Naturalist Class & Rose Seminar - August 20, 2004 article

Gardening: Prepare Now For Fall Gardens - August 26, 2004 article

Gardening: Septemberís Garden Calendar Includes Fall Pecan Field Day - September 2, 2004 article

Gardening: Ornamental Grasses - September 8, 2004 article

Gardening: Don't Let Landscape Become A High-Maintenance Nightmare - September 22, 2004 article

Gardening: Oct. 10 Plant Sale & Seminar To Feature Butterfly Gardening - Butterflies Bring Color, Motion to Garden - October 2, 2004 article

Gardening: Plant It And They Will Come: Getting the Butterflies of Galveston County to Grace Your Yard - October 2, 2004 article

Gardening: Rose Propagation & Seasonal Decorating Workshops To Be Held - October 13, 2004 article

Gardening: Extension Office To Sponsor Open House On October 29, Seasonal Decorations and Onion and Garlic Workshops - October 20, 2004 article

Gardening: Extension Office To Sponsor Open House On October 29 and County Pecan Show - October 27, 2004 article

Gardening: November Is Pansy Time - November 6, 2004 article

Gardening: County Pecan Growers Display Their Successes - November 11, 2004 article

Gardening: Gardeners' Questions On Fall Crops - November 17, 2004 article

Gardening: Gardenersí Q&As For November - November 28, 2004 article

Gardening: Gardeners' December Checklist Includes Citrus Show On Dec. 9 - December 3, 2004 article

Gardening: Citrus Show A Huge Success With 185 Entries - December 19, 2004 article

Gardening: Trees and Shrubs - December 23, 2004 article

Gardening: Cold Weather Impact - January 4, 2005 article

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