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Milberger's Nursery and Landscaping
3920 North Loop 1604 E.
San Antonio, TX 78247

Open 9 to 6 Mon. through Sat.
and 10 to 5 on Sun.

Three exits east of 281, inside of 1604
Next to the Diamond Shamrock station
Please click map for more detailed map and driving directions.

Click here

  Weekly Primetime Article
Saturday, December 24, 2005
By Calvin R. Finch, PhD, SAWS Water Resources Director, and Horticulturist

January Gardening Tasks

January is the coldest month of the year on average in San Antonio. It is also one of the months that water purveyors use to determine the sewer bill for the year. The theory is that the water you use in the wintertime is all used inside the house and this ends up in the sewer and it is reasonable to determine the year round sewer charges based on that water use. Knowing that, you should minimize the amount of water you use on the landscape. Certainly do not waste water by irrigating a dormant lawn.

The lawn does not need watering this month and since it is not growing, mowing is not required – unless you have winter weeds. Mow every 2 weeks to keep rye grass, rescue grass, bedstraw and other winter weeds from going to seed.

In the full sun bed, the pansies will bloom all month. The snapdragons, dianthus, stocks and calendula may also continue blooming all month if the weather does not get too cold. The cyclamen and primula should bloom through the month in the shade garden. Keep the winter annuals well watered and add slow release lawn fertilizer once per month. One cup used over a 16 ft row is enough. It is especially important to apply slug and snail bait for the primula and pansies.

January is a good month for bird feeding. The American and lesser goldfinches like thistle seed fed in special tube feeders. To provide sunflower seed for the cardinals and other small songbirds without being eaten into debt by squirrels and white wing doves, use a steel feeder with a weight sensitive perch. You can set the perch to close with the weight of the big doves and even grackles. Suet blocks will attract kinglets, wrens, jays and even warblers. Spread a little seed on the ground every morning for the Inca doves and ground birds. Seed on the ground over night may attract rodents.

In the vegetable garden keep the broccoli, spinach, cabbage and cauliflower watered and fertilized. Harvest broccoli and spinach as you need it. After you use the big heads, broccoli plants will produce small side heads. They are just as tasty and nutritious as the primary heads. Late in the month you can plant onion plants. Plant them close together (every 2 inches) so every second and third onion can be harvested for green onions. The large bulbs will be ready to harvest in late May.

January is a good time to prune oaks because the oak wilt spores and sap beetles (carriers) are usually not active. Just to be safe, paint all wound over 1 inch and diameter. Wait until next month for other pruning. January is still a good month to plant trees and shrubs.

I also like to plant my potatoes in late January or early February. The yield is not huge but there is nothing better than boiling up a mess of your own new potatoes. Dig trenches 12 inches deep and place a piece of potato every 2 feet. Cover with 3 or 4 inches of soil. Fill in the trench as the potato plants emerge. If you have the soil you can also hill up around the plants. The potatoes are produced on the stems in the trench and hills.