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Your Regional Garden News - Zone 8

January 1 to January 30

 

Discover what you should be doing right now.  Our experts share gardening advice, techniques, news, and ideas to make your garden the best ever.  

Here's what's happening in your gardening region:

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    Learn about seed starting indoors

    Take the short days in January as an opportunity to learn how to start seeds indoors. There are some particular conditions you need to provide in order to grow healthy seedlings. Avoid problems with damping off, fungus gnats, or plants stretching toward the light by making sure you’ve got the basics of seed starting down.

     
     

     

    See whats new for 2015

    One of the most fun things about a new year is new plant introductions! Burpee has over 100 new introductions for 2015. These are just a few of the amazing selections. Cloudy Day hybrid tomatoes are perfect for early season growing. They resist early and late blight diseases, too. The Dancing Girls zinnia is a gorgeous pink and white double-flowering variety unlike any you’ve ever seen. If you love old-fashioned cut flowers, this one is for you! No vegetable garden in our area is complete without nasturtium flowers blooming along the edges, and we’re thrilled to re-introduce ‘Phoenix’, an heirloom variety with pinked edges from 1904.

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  • Plan a spring flower garden

    If you have an area you can dedicate to “wildflowers” or cutting flowers, clean it out and plant some spring beauties to bloom while the weather is still chilly. You can sow alyssum, cornflower, and California poppy seeds like you’d scatter chicken feed in February. (So the time to order is now.) They’ll grow during the early spring and start blooming in April and May. Just mix them all together. You’ll get a riot of color!

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    Learn gardening basics

    Just like you can benefit from spending time brushing up on seed-starting basics, now’s a good time to read up on outdoor gardening basics. Maybe you’ll learn a few new things or be reminded of how to do certain gardening tasks you haven’t done in a while. Start with reading up on how to test and improve your garden soil. Then get a refresher on dividing perennials. If you like to garden from seed, you’ll appreciate learning which ones are easiest to direct-sow.

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    What you need to start seeds indoors

    If you read all of the seed-starting tips above, you know there are some special pieces of equipment you need to get seeds off to a healthy start. A seedling heating mat keeps the soil warm and fungal diseases at bay. Higher temperatures also speed up the plant’s metabolic processes, so they can grow out of the stage where they’re affected by those problems. A seed starting tray helps you ensure proper watering for seedlings, and a grow light will help you produce strong, healthy seedlings that aren’t stretched out.

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Gardening Tip of the Day

  • While most seeds need to be ‘in the dark’ to germinate, that is covered with starting medium indoors or soil outdoors, there are some that require light to germinate and should not be covered. The best resource is the information given on the seed packet. Listed are some of the most common light-loving seeds.

    • Celery
    • Garden Cress
    • Lettuce
    • Mustard
    • Ageratum
    • Begonia
    • Browalia
    • Coleus
    • Columbine
    • Foxglove
    • Impatiens
    • Lobelia
    • Petunia
    • Poppy
    • Primrose
    • Rose Moss
    • Shasta Daisy
    • Snapdragon
    • Strawflower