January is the busiest month in my garden.

With our first frost usually falling in early-mid December, and our last frost in mid-February, I have a short season while my plants are dormant in which to prune in the garden. (In fact, we usually only have two or three periods of frost each winter).

With 40 plus trees and a myriad of grape vines, berry bushes, and roses, there is quite a bit to do.

After the trees, bushes, and vines are pruned, they need to be sprayed to fight diseases and kill any overwintering pests. I spray mine with an organic dormant oil made from cottonseed. I may change to spraying them with diatomaceous earth mixed with water sometime in the future, but for now, I still have plenty of oil left to use (purchased with a $25 off $25 coupon from an organic gardening company).

At the end of the month, I’ll fertilize the fruit trees, berry bushes, and roses.

This year, I’m working to finish planting the bulbs that I ordered last year for the garden. I still have several hundred to get in the ground. They had to be in the refrigerator for 10 weeks because of our warmer climate. I’m only averaging to plant 50 a day, so it will take me a bit longer to finish.

I need to fix a few problems with my drip system where I’ve pulled a few lines loose.

While the plants are dormant, I am going to dig up the pomegranate in back that is not getting enough sun and transfer it to a pot on the patio that I purchased last spring. I have been waiting since April to be able to do this, as plants are best transplanted when they are dormant.

I am also transplanting a grape vine that is in the same area to another place in the garden. With more sun, it should do much better. I usually grow snow peas there, so I’ll have to transplant the snow pea seedlings and move them to a new spot in the garden.

I need to plant more cool season vegetables seeds in the garden.

Those things should keep me outside working every day but Sundays this month!

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  1. I wrote these for this month because it would basically be the same goals every week: prune a whole bunch, work some more in the garden, etc. I’ll most likely get back to weekly goal writing after the above garden chores are done!

  2. Ooh, Deb, don’t give up! I’ve learned so much from Brandy’s website! There is a guy here in town, too, called The Urban Farmer, and he’s a proponent of growing small fruit trees here. I wanted to participate in his Adopt-A-Tree program a couple months back, but the funds weren’t available. He will evaluate your landscaping to let you know the best placement for the trees. I think he charges $40 or something for an evaluation. I recently participated in one of his webinars…it was live so I was able to type in any questions I had. It was very informative. This is our first attempt at a Winter Garden. We only have three types of veggies going right now, but Brandy inspired me to give it a go and it’s so rewarding to look out the window and see those sweet little green plants when everything else is brown! Check out Brandy’s Garden Calendar here (because I didn’t and planted two things that won’t grow…whoops! Learning curve!): http://theprudenthomemaker.com/index.php/kitchen-garden/garden-calendar It’s a new year! Don’t give up! 😀 Blessings!

  3. For cool weather (rather funny because most of our days are high 70s) crops I’ve found that most of the Asian greens grow extremely well for me. Also now is the growing season for tomatoes – Roma, Celebrity are being harvested with Jet Setter, Tasti Lee and Everglades ready to take over in about a month. Summers, July, August and part of Sept, are just too hot for much of anything.Our citrus trees are starting to have ripe fruit – lemons, oranges, grapefruit, calamondin, star fruit – well, actually only 2 or 3 each but it’s a good start! The loquats will be ready in about another month and the acerola cherries are just starting to develop fruit. And it’s time to fertilize again. For those who think you just have to plant a fruit tree – your description of care is wonderful. Edible plant gardening can be an almost full time job and you’re doing great.

  4. Inspiring! Where do you get the organic oil to spray trees? I also live in an arid climate and recently purchased a house with two nice apple trees. I’m new to growing food and the apples all had worms this year. After learning that they will need frequent spraying to prevent that, I’d love to find an organic product.

  5. Inspiring! Where do you get the organic oil to spray trees? I also live in an arid climate and recently purchased a house with two nice apple trees. I’m new to growing food and the apples all had worms this year. After learning that they will need frequent spraying to prevent that, I’d love to find an organic product.

  6. I can’t even comprehend this “gardening in winter” thing. We can’t plant until after Memorial Day here (Maine) and are completely done by the end of September, Columbus Day if we’re lucky. 🙂

  7. Have you purchased anything else from Gardens Alive? I noticed that the organic oil is $10.99 and you need to have $25 to use the coupon. Thanks for your advice!

  8. Julie, imagine that you had September and then April (with nothing in between), and you called those two months “winter”. THAT is our winter. (December and January; our last frost is mid-February). It’s 55º outside right now in the middle of the day. I believe this is what you call “spring.” 🙂

  9. I know what you mean, Julie, as I now live in Iowa after growing up on San Diego, CA and living all over the place for 30+ years. It’s nice to have a long break and time to do indoor things before all the yardwork and gardening begins again. Brandy is an energetic, disciplined woman! Right now we are in a deep freeze with temps going below zero. But I have buds on my potted geraniums which brighten my days. Happy New Years!

  10. It’s a good time to get organized for starting seeds, Julie! I’m in New Hampshire and starting to make plans based on the seeds I have left from last year.

  11. I don’t even really think much about gardening until April. We are on the border between zone 4 and zone 5 and have been below zero the last week and not to come. There’s an old greenhouse unused for years on or property attached to my husband’s workshop and he and son in law fixed it up late summer. The workshop is heated so they actually added a vent to direct some heat through the shared wall into the greenhouse, if needed. My daughter has a couple thermometers out there and has been tracking the temperature for months now. Nothing fancy… they built seahorses and put boards across, they checked the farm store out for hanging lights. I think she’s pretty serious about getting it going.

  12. I am so excited to hear about an organic way to spray fruit trees! Will you please give us some more information about how you do this? For example, do you mix a certain amount of oil with a certain amount of water and put it in a sprayer? Also, I would love more information on how you would do it with diatomaceous earth. You are awesome!!!!! Thank you for inspiring us!

  13. Oh my the auto spell on this kindle just drives me crazy. They did not build “seahorses” though that would be interesting, it was naturally, sawhorses. And we have “more” cold weather to come .

  14. It’s usually a couple of tablespoons of dormant oil mixed with water and put in a sprayer. The oil you buy will have an amount listed on it; sometimes that amount varies depending on the type of tree, so read the directions to make sure.I have not done it with food-grade DT, but a woman here in town does it that way. She also mixes it with water, but I don’t know the ratio. You may be able to do an internet search and find it. Either way, you want to spray the trees while there are no leaves or bud, to kill overwintering bugs. Do it AFTER you have pruned. You want to cover every branch and the trunk as well.Also make sure to clean up anything under the trees. Leaving fruit to rot under trees invites pests that will plague your trees for years. Be sure to get rid of (trash or burning, NOT composting) any diseased branches that you cut.I use the dormant oil on the roses, the fruit trees, the berry bushes the grape vines, and on my hedges. It helps to keep powdery mildew and spider mites off my hedges.No matter where you live, pruning and spraying is best done in the winter. I have to act quickly, as our winter is warm enough to be spring in many places!

  15. I purchased the arugula sprouting seeds before to get me to that total. They came in a big envelope, and instead of using them for sprouting, I planted them in the garden. I’ve had enough to plant for several years! There’s probably something else you would like from there if you look.

  16. The orchard near us purposely leaves the apples underneath the trees to rot. It is their primary source of fertilizer. We are in Zone 5, so the cold probably kills the pests.

  17. Yesterday, I started pruning out the old canes from my raspberries. Last year I left them to do until much later in the spring, and the new canes were growing more than they should have been, causing some of the new growth to break off when I tied them up. I got about 1/3 done, and will continue throughout the week, schedule and weather allowing. Thanks for the gentle nudge to get started. Thankfully, I have more than 1 month to get it all done. In fact, there are many things that cannot be done yet here. I will be making a list, ordering seeds, and starting things like peppers soon in my small greenhouse. It is made from plastic over a frame of small boards. Last year my husband covered the side walls with corrugated plastic, making it more stable. With a small space heater and a seed heat mat, we get by. We usually raise tomatoes, peppers, a few flowers, onion plants from seeds, and last year, my husband started the corn in there, then we planted out the small plants. We did cucumbers, pumpkins, zucchini, etc. (squash type plants and cukes). We usually find that they don’t grow as well in that garden as when we directly plant them into the soil, but sometimes we get too eager. They don’t like their roots disturbed. Last year, I grew a few in the little peat pots that you plant pot and all, and I had much better results. I will probably try that again.I have 4 large raised beds and the rest of the garden is the regular flat kind that you till. This is so I can plant earlier, since our garden is at the bottom of a hill and stays wet a long time. This is the 3rd year I’ve had them. I’m experimenting with something I saw on the internet. Last year, I dug, with a shovel, all the paths inbetween the 4 beds and around the edges. Than I covered with bark chips. I didn’t like it, especially. It was very hard and the weeds grew back quickly anyway. The new plan is to cover the paths with cardboard, then cover with the wood chips. So, we will see. Here’s hoping! (we get the wood chips for free from the tree trimmer people whevever they are in our area. We still have a bunch left from last summer when they kindly dumpted them on our property.

  18. I’ve just stumbled across your blog and I love it. We have a small garden and I’ve just started blogging. I’m hoping to have some fruit trees soon. We have an orange tree but it isn’t doing so well. Will keep an eye out for tips on how to restore it.

  19. Received 3 tea samples in the mailA free shampoo sampleFroze 2 bananas and half cup of blueberries to use laterReceived a $10 gift certificate to use in the Chevy store-this was a bit of a surprise, although we have been to our local dealer store, everything is so expensive! We might use it to get a bottle of car touch up paint.My Dad gave us a $50 gift card for Olive GardenReceived a free full size pack of dog treats and a $3 off couponMy husband shot a buck and we got back 50 pounds of venison back from the processor. The cost came to around $2 per pound. Next year he is going to give it a shot and process the meat himself.

  20. Spring like there? It’s 6 degrees outside, feels likes -5 here. This is a warm day! :)Andrea- We don’t do seeds anymore other than things we can start right in the garden. We literally have no place to put them away from a cat and a toddler that still gets sun. So we just save up and do seedlings. Lessons learned after having to re-start seeds multiple times due to children, both furry and non, knocking them off the table. lol. 🙂

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