Now that Christmas has been and gone for another year and the New Year is upon us it’s time to turn our attention to January gardening tasks! January and February tend to be the hottest months of summer here in Victoria. So this month we will be focusing on keeping our garden as cool and well watered as we can.
We have had a couple of days here and there where the temperature has been over 35 °C and some plants have struggled a bit. But it will only get hotter over the next couple of months so keeping an eye on the garden is very important.
We planted out some new plants during the spring time and we have to keep a special watch over these plants to make sure that they are adjusting to their new homes and not getting too hot over the summer.
Despite the hot weather there have still been lots of wonderful flowers blooming in the garden over recent weeks. Flowers like yuccas, hydrangeas, salvias, and hebe have been looking very colourful lately. The roses have been lightly pruned to remove the old flowers and now they have new flower buds forming.
Two plants that were struggling badly in the heat were our Loropetalum plants. We bought these two plants in the autumn for their beautiful plum coloured foliage and pretty pink fringed flowers. We planted them out in a full sun position in the garden in June but they just didn’t seem to thrive in there new position.
As the days got warmer and summer hit they really started to struggle. They were losing their leaves and looking generally quite poor.
By early December it was clear that they would not survive the summer in the garden so we decided to lift them and put them back into pots.
Wow, did that do the trick!
Within days of being returned to a self-watering pot they looked much better. Now they are in a position that gets morning sun and afternoon shade and they look the best they ever have! They have put on lots of new foliage and have even flowered!
So I have to suggest that one January gardening job could be to check you plants to see if any are struggling in the heat. If there is any chance that you might lose a plant over summer I would recommend lifting it and putting it into a pot. That way you can put it into a shadier location and protect it from the summer sun.
January gardening also means watering container plants more often. Over winter container plants can go for longer periods without water but in January when it is so hot we have to step up the watering to every three or four days.
These days it is possible to buy some really nice self-watering pots. We try to use as many of these pots as we can because they allow the plants to have ready access to water when it is really hot.
I have a couple of bonsai plants and they also need careful monitoring of their water over summer. The small nature of bonsai pots means that they don’t hold a lot of water. In the cooler months I was watering my bonsai every three or four days but now I have to water them every day.
Our vegetable garden is really starting to take shape and it is so exciting to see it flourishing after a few years dormancy. The vegie garden is pretty much full sun all day so it also requires regular watering. Also, even though it has been very hot, the weeds still manage to come up in the vegie patch. So whenever there is a coolish day we like to spend a couple of hours weeding and tending to the vegetables.
We have climbing beans that are almost at the top of their trellis and our cucumbers are also proving to be great climbers and they are flowering now!
We also have carrots, beetroot, peas, tomatoes, pumpkins, and I have just planted out my capsicum and broccoli seedlings that I have grown from seed.
Also in the vegie patch is the garlic that we planted out earlier this year. It is almost ready to harvest as the plants are really starting to dry off now. The base of the plants look really big and I can’t wait to see how big the bulbs are.
Yesterday we were able to harvest a small patch of garlic that came up by itself (in an old spot) because it had completely dried off. Most of these garlic bulbs are quite small but they will be great for adding to soups and stews.
Hopefully next month I will have some more garlic to show you!
Small solar panels have been a big feature of our garden over the last month as they have been powering our many sets of Christmas lights. It has been fun having so many twinkling lights going in the front garden in the lead up to Christmas. Even though our light display was not as big as some it was still great to see some cars slowing down and even stopping to have a look.
The weather hasn’t always been the best for solar power these last few weeks though! We have had quite a few days where it has been overcast and as a result the panels haven’t received the light they needed.
Now that Christmas is over it is time to pack them away again. This month seems to have gone so fast!
The fruit on our plum tree has been starting to ripen these last couple of weeks and the local parrots seem to have noticed! So while we are busy watering the garden we will also be trying to protect the fruit trees from the birds!
For further ideas for what else can be done in the garden during January I have included a few links:
January Gardening in Australia:
For my northern hemisphere visitors.
January Gardening in the Northern Hemisphere:
What is happening in your patch during January?