January 2018’s Backyard Garden Update

If I could sum up January in one word, one sound in fact, it would be.. brrrr! This month was definitely cold for Floridians! And for the majority of the east coast with Winter Storm Grayson that actually brought snow to north Florida. If you decided to start gardening this month, well, I’m sorry. While I usually pull out my garden covers in January, it’s never been this extreme in my gardening experience. So don’t be discouraged, our Florida weather is just around the corner! Even MLGG had some garden setbacks this go-round. So, snuggle up with something warm, and get set for our January 2018’s Backyard Garden Update!

The first week of January was consistently cold. The garden was actually kept covered for a few days. Each night had freezing temps, but that week we didn’t experience a hard freeze (below 28°F). The 2 warm season vegetables I had growing survived – eggplant and pepper. The little potted citrus trees were brought inside and everything else was covered and did fine.

Then the third week of January we had that one cold night. That blistery cold night. That 25°F night. For it to reach 25°F, just imagine how many consecutive hours were in freezing temps. Anything below 25°F is considered a severe freeze. That’s when some plants become a lost cause.

That’s when my eggplant and pepper plants became a lost cause.

Even though the whole bed was covered, it wasn’t enough. The plants were long gone by morning. Would I personally stop planting warm season crops in the fall? Nope. I still get a lot before our January and February cold months. And like I mentioned earlier, it doesn’t usually get this cold in January here in Central Florida where I’m located. Typically, just remembering to cover my plants is enough. But when temps drop to 25°F it’s another story. Had there been tomato plants still in the garden, those would have been gone, too. If you don’t know what vegetables are sensitive to the cold, check out my other post – How to Protect Your Plants from the Cold.

The Mexican Heather and Pentas around the garden beds were damaged as well. Since it appears only parts of the branches were damaged for the Mexican Heather, I have hopes of trimming them back towards the end of February. My fingers are crossed for new growth. The Mums and Roses, on the other hand, did fantastically. They didn’t show any signs of damage.

And since we’re on the topic of flowers, check out this little guy.

I am truly amazed by the color of the blossoms on the borage herb plant. This is my first year growing it after discovering some of the health benefits of borage oil. And it attracts bees.

Besides a couple of cold snaps, the rest of the month was quite pleasant. And the cold snaps helped the cold season vegetables to taste sweeter. It certainly helped the array of carrots were harvested.

And don’t get me started on all the broccoli!

OK, one of those was a cauliflower.. but close enough! 😉 We harvested broccoli heads and broccoli shoots and they tasted amazing! I don’t know if it’s the varieties we grow, but even organic broccoli from the local grocery store’s got nothin’ on these guys. The flavor is so rich with this broccoli!

The cabbage is growing well, and more was planted this month.

ANd both the bulbing and bunching onions are doing well. Have I mentioned yet that there were no harmful insects this month? Yea.. the cold took care of that, too!

The fruit did well this month. The citrus plants are all growing nicely (key lime, Meyers lemon, and limequat). The limequat is currently fruiting.

And the Apples are still doing well.. that is, for the Dorsett Golden. I do have concerns about my Anna apple tree. I haven’t seen significant growth since hurricane Irma, but I’m hopeful.

A couple of the raspberry plants started to come back this month, and a couple of the blueberry plants have blossomed. The raspberries started to choke out the blueberry plants and strawberry plants. Everything was weeded and cleaned up. The space is now being used for a few transplanted broccoli plants until its the right time to purchase a few more strawberry plants.

Until next month, stay warm! 🙂

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