January 1 to January 31-- Discover what you should be doing right now. Our experts share gardening advice, techniques, news, and ideas to make your garden the best ever.
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Teresa is a garden author, and host of her gardening radio show, "In Your Backyard", every Tuesday 1pm EST on My790am.com.
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Gardening in Florida’s Zone 9 during December is a gift for tropical gardeners. You are less likely to see pests and weeds in your garden beds and the cooler temperatures mean less humidity. December is an optimum time for planting spring-blooming shrubs and trees, like crapemyrtles, apple, peach, and pear trees, and hydrangeas. Despite less rainfall, irrigation is needed only once a week. Take advantage of the season to increase the size of your garden beds by adding more flowers and shrubs to your landscape, thus reducing your mowing next year.
1.) Burpee's New 2018 Vegetables.
1. Three new vegetables from your garden to the table all throughout the New Year! Starting off with colorful red and creamy centered radishes that can be grown during Florida’s Zone 9 winter season, Burpee’s Roxanne Hybrids have a wonderful taste that helped it win the All-America Edible Vegetable award. One of the easiest to grow vegetables for the new gardener. For the patio and front porch gardener, the first-ever, dense and compact, beefsteak tomatoes, the Atlas Hybrid. Atlas Hybrid seeds provide bountiful harvests of one pound tomatoes. These semi-determinate plants are strong growers while staying compact for containers and balcony gardening. Use your Atlas Tomatoes in the easy and quick to make Tomato Cheddar Basil Soup recipe below. Burpee’s new heirloom Spanish Eggplant ‘Listada de Gandia’ ……doesn’t need peeled. Growing 5” to 6” or more, this purple and white striped vegetable is sure to provide a grande harvest for your favorite Mediterranean recipes. Grows well through extended hot summers.
2.) Burpee's 2018 New Fruits.
2. One of the fastest trends in edible (or should I say potable?) landscaping is growing hops. Planting your own perennial home brew can be fruitful with ‘Chinook’ hop plants. ‘Chinook’ hops blends the flavors of pine, grapefruit, spices with smoky aromas to create your favorite recipe for pale ale, wheat beer, or stout. Start your own Beer Garden with these disease-resistant and very productive vines. I could not imagine eating pancakes without blueberries from our garden. We get enough to eat during the summer and freeze more for Sunday breakfasts in winter. Blueberries are native to North America and grow very well in Zone 9 climate and acidic soils. Burpee’s Southern Collection of blueberries of Misty, Jubilee, and Sunshine Blue, are low-chill blueberry plants that only need 150 to 500 hours of 45 degrees or less to ensure an ample supply. The ‘Charleston Gray’ watermelon can be planted as a productive ground cover in Zone 9. This large, canister-shaped fruit is crisp, fiberless, and delicious. Disease-resistant and tolerates the hot sun, ‘Charleston Gray’ can be harvested in 85 days to cool off the early summer heat.
3.) Burpee's New 2018 Plants.
3. Looking for that one-of-a-kind plant that looks fantastic in your landscape and makes your friends and family want to touch it? The Acacia ‘Cousin Itt’ fits the bill. This deer, and drought-resistant, low-mounding perennial takes the heat in sunny or partial sun locations whether in your garden or in a container. Makes a great addition to your rock garden or cascading near a bubbling water feature. Favorite for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, the Grevillea, ‘Kings Celebration’ is not only unusually beautifull but blooms year-round. This drought-tolerant perennial has bicolor red and white blossoms and ribbon foliage. Would look at home in tropical landscape. Grows to 5’ – 6’ tall and wide in full sun. Zoned 8 – 11. Another tropical perennial that will have your gardening friends silver green with envy is the Royal Hawaiian Seanna, Leucospermum, a member of the Protea genus. This exotic evergreen shrub displays silver green foliage with red pin-cushions that can take heat and drought. In a container or your garden bed, Royal Hawaiian Seanna is going to be a major player in sustainable landscaping. Flowers make elegant floral arrangements.
4.) Pest Control.
4. Tired of dealing with greedy squirrels, birds, and hungry deer? Check out Burpee’s top quality products of pest repellents and controls. Bird-X Protective Netting for Fruits and Vegetables protects the fruits of your labor with strong and durable polypropylene mesh. Long-lasting material resists UV rays. Effective without the need for electricity or chemicals. Use with fruit trees, grapes, berries and vegetable gardens. This month always presents urban challenges of living near deer. Deer prefer certain plants over others, they will ultimately get used to eating anything and everything if they are hungry. Strategies for keeping the little dears out of your garden are important. Burpee’s article on the best ways to protect your landscape is a good way to stay ahead of the game in your garden.
5.) Seed Starting.
5. If you received a seed kit from Santa or made a 2018 goal of growing your own food, then learning how to start seeds is important. Burpee’s helpful videos explain the “whys” and “how-to’s” of planting your flower, herbs, and vegetables, from starting your seeds indoors to transplanting them in your garden.