Magazine article Sunset

Mountain Checklist: What to Do in Your Garden in January

Magazine article Sunset

Mountain Checklist: What to Do in Your Garden in January

Article excerpt



* ORDER SEEDS. Seed dealers who specialize in plants for high-elevation gardens are listed in the story beginning on page 52. Early orders are most likely to be filled quickly and with no substitutions. To calculate when to start seeds indoors, find out the average date of the last frost in your area, then count backward about five weeks.

* HARDY PERENNIALS. In milder parts of the intermountain West, start perennials such as delphinium, hellebore, pansy, primula, veronica, and viola in a coldframe or greenhouse for transplanting when at least two sets of true leaves appear. In the coldest areas, transplant when the soil can be worked.


* CARE FOR LIVING CHRISTMAS TREES. Move them outside to a place that's protected from hard freezing and from midday and afternoon sun. A cool, bright porch is ideal, but a spot on the patio or under a large tree can work well, too, if outside temperatures aren't so low that the tree's rootball will freeze. If it's too cold, sink the rootball into the ground, container and all, and cover it with mulch. After two weeks in a shaded location, move the tree into full sun. Water whenever the top 2 inches of soil are dry.

* CHECK STORED BULBS, PRODUCE. Look over any tender bulbs, corms, tubers, and produce you have stored away to check for shriveling and rot. You can usually rehydrate shriveled bulbs by sprinkling them with water. Remove anything that shows signs of decay. Dahlia tubers are the exception: cut out the bad spots, dust tubers with sulfur, and store separately.


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