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January 2018 Gardening Tips - Clematis 'Multi-Blue'
Helleborus ‘Peppermint Ice’



    This is a great time of year for cleaning and sharpening your gardening tools!

    The blades of hand pruners and loppers are easily cleaned of rust and residue with 000 steel wool (if your pruners are really dirty-use some WD40 with the steel wool). Sharpen the blades (remember to only sharpen on the beveled side). You can then lightly spray the blades with alcohol and then lightly oil with some 3 in 1 oil or silicon spray (my personal favorite). Help your hands and your plants; clean and sharpen your pruners as often as needed to make good clean cuts using the least effort. At least once a year taking apart your hand pruners to clean all the parts will ensure the longest life for your pruners. Also, hand pruners such as the Felco brand have replaceable blades and other parts.

    For shovels, hoes, trowels and other tools use a stiff brush and wash the entire tool with mild soap and water (you can add a little bleach to the water if you like). After the tool is clean, dry it completely with a clean cloth. Sharpen any cutting edges. Lightly oil any wooden handles with boiled linseed oil or a vegetable oil; you may first need to use some sandpaper to smooth rough spots in the wood.

    One of the best ways to care for your tools is to clean them after using and then store them out of the weather and hang them so the tools do not rest on their working ends.

    Remember for long lasting tools: always buy the best quality tool that you can afford!

    To find out more about the best gardening tools, watch The Gardening Tutor video - Gardening Tools, an overview for buying and using.

    January 2018
    Gardening Checklist*
    What to SHOP for . . .
    Checkbox Winter Blooming Perennials - Helleborus, Primrose, Cyclamen, Pulmonaria angustifolia (this is a species of Pulmonaria and looks much better in winter than the varieties), Veronica 'Georgia Blue.
    Checkbox Cool Season Annuals - Sweet Pea seeds can still be planted this month. You may have better success though when you plant starts (small plants) of sweet peas.
    Checkbox Bulbs for Color Now - You may have missed planting your bulbs in ground last fall but the good news is that nurseries planted bulbs for you in 4 inch containers. You can create some amazingly colorful container plantings this month!
    Fill containers with: Ranunculus, Anemone and Narcissus. Buy them from the nursery when they are just starting to bloom instead of being in full bloom already.
    Checkbox Bareroot Roses, Blueberries, and Fruit Trees - You can encourage more rooting by planting your bareroot plants in a five gallon container (keep them watered throughout the year) and plant in ground next year. Remember, a bareroot fruit tree may not produce fruit for 3 to 5 years from planting. For best selection, shop early in the season. For better fruiting, plant more than one blueberry shrub in the same area to encourage cross pollination (they must bloom at the same time).
    Checkbox Veggies - Onion sets, Carrot and Radish seeds, Rhubarb, Spinach.
    Checkbox Flower Seeds - Now is the time to order, or buy locally, flower seeds for planting in a greenhouse setting in February or in ground in spring. Wildflower seeds can still be scattered this month (keep area clear of weed competition).
    Checkbox Extras - Frost Cloth, Dormant Oil Spray.
    Tasks to do . . .
    Checkbox Prune - Cotoneaster: Make thinning cuts instead of heading cuts for a natural, arching, dramatic shape. Prune out dead, damaged, diseased and crossing stems. Most Fuchsias once they lose their leaves, prune to six inches and hanging fuchsia to the rim of the basket. Photinia can be shaped now. Roses: Watch The Gardening Tutor Videos How to Prune a Hybrid Tea Rose and How to Prune a Climbing Rose.
    Checkbox Not the Time to Prune - Lilac, Forsythia, Flowering Quince, Rhododendron, or any other early spring bloomers. These plants bloom on one year and older growth so if you prune them back now, you will be cutting off the blooms for this spring.
    Checkbox Pest Management - Dormant spray fruit trees, roses and other plants that had or are prone to infestations of insects, such as aphids, and fungus, such as black spot, rust etc. Remember to spray the soil area under and around the plant as well. Read directions on the bottle before spraying.
    Checkbox Transplanting - Many frost hardy plants can be transplanted in winter. First dig the hole where you are moving the plant to and then dig up the plant you want to move. If you do this during a rain shower, the plant may not even know it's been moved! Remember to keep the plant watered if there is a long dry spell of no rain.
    Checkbox Weeding - Many annual weeds will germinate from the rains; for best control, pull before they go to seed.
    Free printable . . .
      Looking for a way to stay organized in your garden?
    Download this Free Printable Gardening Checklist* and you’ll be amazed how inspired you’ll feel!
    Let us know how you’re doing. You can do it!
    Remember, this printable was created as a short list of tasks with minimal information. If you would like more in-depth information,
    you can always refer back to the checklist above each month for more details.

    The Gardening Tutor January 2018 Printable

    *Colors may vary depending upon your computer screen and printer.

*For More Detailed Gardening Tips
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