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A Note From Rick | Looking Ahead

How-to
Bridge Gardens
January 19, 2021

By Rick Bogusch

January, a Time to Reflect and Plan Ahead

Reflecting on all that we experienced in 2020, I’m grateful for this beautiful place that I call home, the good health of friends and family, and connections I’ve enjoyed - even virtually - with my friends. While January is a good time for reflection, its also a time for action as spring is not far off.

The most important task this month is ordering your vegetable, herb and flower seeds. More people than usual are growing their own and demand for seeds is high. I placed orders a couple weeks ago, and some of my favorite varieties were already sold out. Also, delivery times are much longer this year. Even though it’s too early to start seeds indoors and it’s still winter outdoors, ORDER NOW so you are not disappointed when spring comes around. Here’s a list of my favorite seed sources along with varieties that have grown well here at Bridge Gardens.

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I like perusing catalogs and carefully choosing varieties, but it’s also fine to buy seeds locally or opt to buy starter plants at the local garden center. Some crops, like beets, carrots, and cilantro do not do well as transplants and are best sown directly in the garden, so stock up on them now. It won’t be long until it is time to start seeds. The first seeds I sow indoors in early March are artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage about 4-6 weeks before seedlings are planted outside in the garden. I use cell packs or peat pots, potting mix, a heat mat to get germination started, and grow lights once leaves appear. When seedlings get their true leaves and are 2-3 inches tall, and when roots have filled containers, they are transplanted into larger pots for uninterrupted growth. I usually feed seedlings every two weeks with a diluted fertilizer once their true leaves appear. Stay tuned for a video I’ll be sharing on February 15 which will show you how to start seeds indoors.

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It also won’t be long before you can sow seeds into the garden outdoors. Arugula, kale, spinach, and Asian greens all like the cool temps of early and mid-spring. If frost threatens, cover with floating row covers or old sheets and then remove when the weather warms up.

This is also the perfect time of year to plan your vegetable garden and all your upcoming planting projects. Some crops should not be planted in the same spot every year, so take some time to decide where you’ll grow tomatoes, peppers and eggplants this year. Since they are usually not planted until the end of May, consider growing and harvesting early spring crops where warm weather crops will eventually be planted.

We’re planning a second video to be released on March 15, “Getting the Vegetable Garden Started” that will help you plan and plant your garden outdoors.

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For now, take advantage of sunny, warm-ish days and get outside for some winter pruning. Now is a great time to remove suckers from small trees and shrubs, remove dead wood, crossing and rubbing branches. Fruit trees are usually pruned this time of year, as are wisteria vines. If you’re planning any large tree work this year, pruning, or removals, contact your arborist now. Weather-permitting, it’s easier and sometimes cheaper for these professionals to do their work before the growing season gets underway. Take a look at your trees, see if removing lower limbs will let in more light and improve air circulation, or if there are broken, damaged and dangerous branches.

Need some tips on pruning? Check out my video, taken in partnership with the Horticultural Alliance of the Hamptons earlier this month. In this video, I’m demonstrating techniques to remove deadwood, suckering branches, as well as crossing and rubbing branches to improve the health and shape of shrubs like witch hazel and hydrangea.

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