NEIGHBORHOOD GARDEN FOR JANUARY 9, 2016
GARDENING IN JANUARY
BY GEORGE EDGAR
1. APPLY WILT-STOP NOW
If you applied Wilt-Stop or Wilt-Pruf or some other anti-desiccant earlier, you probably need a second application now because of all the rain, snow, and cold weather. Or, if you are like me and did not get the first application on, now is the time to apply. A final application will be in order after Valentine’s Day.
You may spray Wilt-Stop or Wilt-Pruf anytime as long as the ambient or air temperature is above 40 degrees F. and stays above 40 degrees F. for at least a couple hours afterwards. The spray should not freeze on the foliage while applying or afterward.
For those who are not familiar with an anti-desiccant such as Wilt-Stop or Wilt-Pruf, these products contain wax that coats the needles of arborvitaes and evergreen trees like my DWARF ALBERTA SPRUCE, UMBRELLA SPRUCE, and UMBRELLA PINE, and on shrubs that do not drop their leaves such as HOLLY, RHODODENDRON, AZALEA, and BOXWOOD so the leaves do not winter burn or the plant dry out and die. The needles on evergreen trees and the leaves on shrubs that do not drop their leaves, continue to perspire all winter long, just like they do in the summer time but not as fast. However, because of the frozen ground, they can not take up moisture to replace the lost water, and thus dry out.
2. WATER TREES AND SHRUBS.
Even though the ground is frozen, trees and shrubs will benefit from a good drink of water on warm winter days. And if you are lucky enough to have a warm day on or about Valentine’s Day, get the hose out, or just take a bucket, and water again. I collect the water from my whole house humidifier and from my reverse osmosis water purifier and use it in the bird bath, for house plants, and to water trees and shrubs outside. Don’t let it run down the drain, use it!!!
DO NOT USE WATER THAT HAS RUN THROUGH A WATER SOFTENER AS THE SALT (SODIUM CHLORIDE) WILL INJURE YOUR PLANTS OVER TIME.
3. SAVING GARDEN SEEDS
It is time to order your garden seeds or make a list to take to the garden center. I first take inventory as I have vegetable and flower seeds left from last year. Most vegetable and flower seeds may be kept over from year to year. After one year the germination rate will decrease depending upon the kind of seed, and where and how they were stored. Seeds store best when dry and in moisture proof containers, at low temperatures. Glass jars with air tight caps are best. Those little packets of an anti-desiccant that comes with some consumer items also helps to keep them dry. Plastic containers are ok but not as air tight. Store at temperatures between 35 and 50 degrees F.
Before using these old seeds be sure and check germination rate. To test seeds, place a counted number of seeds (best to use at least 10 or more) between sheets of paper towels and moisten. Do not let seeds touch each other. Put in a plastic bag or container so seeds do not dry out. Hold at a temperature between 65 to 75 degrees F. I germinate mine in our furnace room that stays warm. Check after one week. After three weeks remove and count the number of seeds that germinate. Seeds with low germination (50% or less) may be used but sow at higher rates than usual.