The Garden Lady: What to plant in January

Editor’s note: This is the first in what we expect to be a weekly blog from Andrea Bithell of Oak Cliff Organics, who is in charge of the teaching farm at Paul Quinn College.

Winter planting can provide delicious produce throughout the year. With spring 2012 only 48 days away, there are plenty of delicious foods to plant in January:

• Asparagus – Plant now and harvest in two years. It is worth the work and wait.
• Carrots – Fresh from the earth carrots taste better than store bought and also have more vitamins and minerals.
• Cilantro – Great for salsa, body cleanser, and in my book, tastes great in everything.
• Lettuces – Fresh from the garden salads saves you a trip to the store.
• Onions – Grow enough now to store and use throughout the year.
• Parsley – Cleanses the palate and freshens breath.
• Potatoes – Is there anything you can’t do with a potato?
• Green peas – Sugar snaps are perfect for kids, a sweet and tasty treat.
• Fruit and nut trees – Repotted has a wide selection of fruiting trees; peach ice cream is a wonderful summer treat.
• Shrubs – Think fresh from the oven blackberry cobbler, plus raspberry lemonade, and blueberry pie this summer.

After the jump, learn how to plant fruit trees. Plus, the Garden Lady’s calendar.

Fruit Trees
My method of planting trees and bushes is a combination of lessons from my Dad, my organic mentors and my own experience. I’ve seen the best results for tree/bush growth and fruiting using the following method:

1. Dig a rough square hole the same depth as the root ball and the width three times the size of the root ball. Do not plant the tree deeper than the existing root ball.
2. Fill the hole with water to test drainage. The water should drain slowly over the course of several hours. If the water stays longer than that, then try a different spot in the yard. Proper drainage is key.
3. Place the tree in the hole, making sure the top of the root ball is level with the ground.
4. Mix excavated soil with a mycorrhizal packet, which encourages good fungus to grow amid the tree’s roots, and expanded shale, which can be bought in the garden store. Backfill the hole with this mix.
5. Place one inch of compost over the area followed with 2-4 inches of hardwood or cedar mulch.
6. Feed weekly with a foliar feeding and use neem oil when buds appear to keep bugs out of the blossoms and then the fruit.

Garden Lady’s green dates to remember:
• Jan. 28 Repotted garden talk – vertical/patio gardening, theme gardening, vermicomposting and aquaponics
• Feb. 12 Rainbow Garden Club Dallas garden talk at Repotted
• Feb. 17-19 Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association Conference at the Mesquite Convention Center – I’ll be talking about small-scale urban agriculture
• April 19 A Community Cooks at Paul Quinn College


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  • JL

    Thanks Andrea!  Great info!