Louisiana gardening by month: What to plant and when for a gorgeous garden all year long | Home/Garden
Happy New Year and may it bring all the gardening successes you desire.
Whether you’re an avid gardener or a homeowner just trying to keep your yard tidy, your work will be more efficient and effective if you plan your activities and understand the gardening seasons in our area. To jump start your planning, here’s a schedule of important gardening activities by the month.
January: Vegetables to plant in January include beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, Chinese cabbage, collards, garden peas, Irish potatoes, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mustard, radishes, rutabagas, spinach, Swiss chard and turnips. Plant seeds of tomatoes, peppers and eggplants in small pots in greenhouses or under lights indoors.
Keep the old, spent flowers of cool-season bedding plants picked off to encourage continued blooming and fertilize if needed.
Repeat-flowering roses generally are pruned twice a year — in late January to early February and again in late August to early September. Hold off pruning cold-damaged woody tropicals, such as hibiscus and angel trumpet, until spring. At that time, look for new growth and then cut the plant back appropriately.
February: Early this month, plant cool-season vegetables, such as beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, Swiss chard, collards, lettuce, mustard, potatoes, radishes, spinach, snow peas and turnips. Plant seeds of tomatoes, peppers and eggplants in greenhouses or under lights indoors.
Many hardy fruit trees, such as peach, pear, plum and apple, should be pruned in February. There often is a specific way to prune your tree, depending on the type you’re growing, so do some research before pruning.
Plant hardy trees, shrubs and ground covers in the landscape now. This will give them time to make some root growth before the heat of summer.
If you want everything to be coming up roses in your garden, follow Dan Gill’s advice this week. He explains how to see your bushes through th…
Fertilize young shade trees and fruit trees.
Clip ground covers back before new growth appears to remove unattractive foliage, rejuvenate the plants and control growth.
March: Begin planting warm-season vegetables, such as tomatoes and bell peppers (use transplants for these two), cucumbers, corn, snap beans, mirliton and squash. Protect tender vegetables in the event of a late freeze.
Begin to plant warm-season bedding plants, such as angelonia, marigolds, zinnias, blue daze, pentas, celosia, salvia, portulaca, purslane, melampodium and others.
Fertilize roses and other shrubs now. Purchase roses in containers and plant this month.
Warmer temperatures and active growth make watering increasingly important if regular rainfall does not occur. New plantings need the most attention, since they are more vulnerable until they have a chance to grow a strong root system.
Fertilize lawns the last week in March or early April using a lawn fertilizer or weed and feed (fertilizer plus weed killer).
April: Excellent hot weather vegetables that can be planted now include cucuzzi, cushaw, eggplants, peanuts, pumpkins, Southern peas, hot peppers, lima beans, luffa gourds, okra and yard-long beans. Continue to plant transplants of tomatoes and peppers and seeds of snap beans, squash and cucumbers.
If you need to, prune spring-flowering shrubs, such as spirea, viburnum, quince, azalea, camellia, jasmine and mock orange as soon as they finish flowering.
Evaluate your flower beds of cool-season bedding plants carefully in late April and early May. When they are past their prime, pull them up and throw them in your compost pile. Then prepare the bed and plant warm-season bedding plants that will thrive here in summer.
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Plant caladium tubers or started plants in shady areas this month.
May: Excellent hot-weather vegetables that can be planted now include amaranth, cantaloupe, cucuzzi, cushaw, eggplant, Malabar spinach, edible soybean, peanuts, pumpkin, Southern peas, hot peppers, lima beans, luffa gourd, mirliton, okra, sweet potato, watermelon and yard-long beans.
Remove developing seed pods from s Louisiana iris, agapanthus and amaryllis when they finish blooming.
Early May is the last chance to apply many broadleaf weed killers and weed-and-feed products to the lawn before the weather gets too hot.
May is one of the busiest months in the flower garden. As cool-season annuals become unattractive, the beds need to be cleaned out and replanted with warm-season annuals for summer color.
June: Heat-tolerant vegetables that can be planted in June include collards, cucuzzi, eggplant, hot pepper, luffa, Malabar spinach, mirliton, New Zealand spinach, okra, peanut, pumpkin, Southern peas, edible soybeans, squash and sweet potato (use “slips” or rooted cuttings).
Herbs that may be planted now include basil, perilla, sesame, mints, oregano, lemon balm, lemon verbena, mountain mint, Mexican oregano, garlic chives, rosemary, bergamot, hyssop, Mexican tarragon, yarrow, burnet and rue.
A second application of fertilizer may be made to lawns in June or July.
June ushers in the hurricane season. Well before the possibility of a hurricane, shade trees in the landscape should be checked carefully to make sure they are in good shape.
Keep up with jobs such as weeding, mulching and staking plants. It’s far easier to do these jobs a little at a time than to get behind and have to make a major effort.
Pest problems are all too common in summer flower and vegetable gardens. When using any pesticide read and follow label directions carefully. When applying pesticides to food crops, observe the waiting period between treatment and harvest. Always make sure you have diagnosed a problem properly before treatment.
July: Vegetables to plant in July include cantaloupes, collards, cucumbers, luffa, okra, pumpkins, Southern peas, shallots, squashes and watermelons. In addition, you can plant seeds to grow transplants of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, peppers and tomatoes.
Finish pruning spring-flowering shrubs, such as azaleas and spirea, in early July.
Sharpen your lawnmower blades. They generally will have become dull by this time of the year.
Keep up with weeding. Weeds can get out of hand very fast. Use mulches wherever possible.
Plant palms through August, since they establish best when planted into warm soil. Select hardier palms, such as cabbage palm, windmill palm, jelly palm, Mediterranean fan palm, Canary Island date palm, palmetto and needle palm. Keep them well-watered during their period of getting established.
August: Vegetables to plant in August include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bunching onions, cabbage, cauliflower, Swiss chard, Chinese cabbage, collards, cucumbers, lima beans, mustard, snap beans, Southern peas, shallots, squash and turnips. Plant transplants of bell peppers, tomatoes and eggplants by mid-August.
Two of my houseplants were not doing well so I placed them outside where they would get better indirect sunlight. They are doing better, but n…
For late-summer color, continue to plant heat-tolerant bedding plants available at local nurseries and garden centers.
Prune everblooming roses back about one-third their height in late August or early September. This pruning prepares the roses for the outstanding blooming season in October, November and early December.
Hot, dry weather is ideal for chinch bug damage to show up on lawns, particularly in St. Augustine grass. Treat if needed with lawn insecticides.
Begin to order spring-flowering bulbs from catalogs for delivery in October.
If you need to, dig and divide Louisiana irises, acanthus, Easter lilies and calla lilies this month and in September.
September: In early September, plant transplants of tomatoes or peppers and seeds of squash, cucumbers, bush snap beans and bush lima beans. Transplants or seeds of broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage can be planted throughout the month as can seeds of Brussels sprouts, Chinese cabbage, collards, mustard, kale, kohlrabi and turnips. Sets (small bulbs) of shallots and bunching onions also may be planted this month, and small whole Irish potatoes can be planted 4 inches deep spaced 12 inches apart in well-prepared beds.
Mulches may have decayed and thinned over the summer. Replenish mulch layers with fresh material to maintain about a 2- to 3-inch thickness.
The hurricane season is kicking into high gear now, and if you haven’t already done so, it’s time to look over your landscape to prepare.
Avoid pruning spring-flowering shrubs and gardenias, hydrangeas, sasanquas and camellias. They have already set their flower buds, and any pruning now will reduce blooming.
From now through the winter, do not apply fertilizers containing nitrogen to most landscape plants. Fertilizing trees, shrubs, lawns and ground covers with nitrogen in the fall can reduce the hardiness of some plants and promote winter injury.
October: Vegetables to plant this month include beets, broccoli (transplants), Brussels sprouts (transplants), cabbage, carrots, cauliflower (transplants), celery, Chinese cabbage, collards, endive, green peas, snow peas, edible podded peas, garlic, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, onions (seed or sets), rutabaga, shallots (sets), parsley, radishes, spinach, Swiss chard, turnips and kale.
Now through February, dig, divide and transplant perennials, such as daylilies, ajuga, daisy, rudbeckia, coreopsis, yarrow and others.
October weather can be dry, so water plantings as needed. Pay special attention to any newly planted areas.
Dig and store your caladium tubers in early October. Don’t wait for the foliage to die down and disappear, since that will make it harder to find the tubers.
Water in newly planted cool-season bedding plants with a half-strength fertilizer solution to get them off to a good start.
November: Vegetables to plant in November include beet, cabbage, carrot, celery, collard, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, leek, lettuce, mustard, onion, rutabaga, shallot, spinach, Swiss chard and turnip.
Herbs to plant include borage, celery, chervil, cilantro, dill, fennel, parsley, chives, garlic chives, lemon balm, Mexican tarragon, mints, oregano, rosemary, sage, sorrel, marjoram, thyme, French tarragon, feverfew, lavender and chamomile.
This is the beginning of the prime planting season for hardy trees, shrubs, vines and ground covers.
FEED ME: After planting bedding plants, water them in with a half-strength solution of your favorite water soluble fertilizer. This gets them …
Finish planting most spring-flowering bulbs this month. Buy tulips and hyacinths by mid-November, and refrigerate them for at least six weeks before planting them in late December or early January.
Plant cool-season bedding plants, such as pansy, viola, alyssum, dianthus, calendula, snapdragon, diascia, nemesia, dusty miller, ornamental cabbage and kale, petunias and many more.
As leaves fall from trees, collect them, put them in your compost pile or use them as mulch.
December: Vegetables to plant in December include beets, cabbage, carrots, celery, Chinese cabbage, collards, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, onions, radish, rutabaga, shallots, spinach, Swiss chard and turnips.
Anticipating freezing temperatures, evaluate tropical plants in your landscape. Decide what needs to be protected and decide how you will do it (bring inside, cover). Have materials on hand.
If any gardening tools or equipment need repair, now is a good time to get that done so everything is in good shape next spring.
Prune off any freeze damage caused to herbaceous tropical plants, such as gingers, philodendrons, cannas and others. Place a 4- to 6-inch layer of mulch, such as pine straw, around the base of the plants to protect the roots and rhizomes.
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