We're barely into the new year, but it's not too soon to begin thinking about gardening tasks for 2009.
January is a good time to plant annuals including calendulas, carnations, pansies, petunias, Shasta daisies or snapdragons. For a permanent flowering plant, add a camellia. Mix in a few more cool-season vegetables to the garden, including beets, cabbage, turnips, broccoli and lettuce.
Plant deciduous fruit trees now but watch for any cold weather where they might need protection.
Prune all spring nonflowering shrubs and any trees that need improved form. This includes crape myrtle, which should only have seed pods and twiggy or crossing branches removed.
If you have problems with pests on your citrus, shrubs, camellias or deciduous fruit trees, this is the month to apply horticultural oil.
February brings us a little closer to spring and means it's time to add a few more bedding plants. Try verbena, dianthus and lobelia along with the January additions. Azaleas are in bloom, and this is a great time to add them for color. If your vegetable plot is ready, start adding some warm-season plants such as beans, peppers, tomatoes, squash and cucumbers.
If you have roses, remove all damaged canes and prune to improve the shape. Fertilize and add mulch. You can expect blooms in eight to 10 weeks. Check your citrus trees. If you see scab disease, apply a copper fungicide when the new leaves appear and again when about one-half to two-thirds of the flowers have fallen. Fertilize citrus and shrubs, and apply a pre-emergent weed killer to the lawn.
March provides lots of options for annuals. Replace the declining winter color and add your favorite summer blooms. It's also not too late to plant another round of warm-season vegetables.
If the azaleas are finished blooming and need a hard pruning, do it now.
Some azaleas bloom into April, so wait until the flowers fall before pruning. The dry season is in full swing so make sure your irrigation system is tuned up and working well.
April is usually a great gardening month. Coleus is a great addition to anywhere you need color because it tolerates sun or shade. Throw down a few annual seeds now so you'll have color later in the summer.
We know it will be hot by May! Annuals that can take the heat include salvias, torenia, wax begonias and ornamental peppers. Basil, rosemary and Mexican tarragon will also take the heat. A few vegetables like our Southern heat. Try southern peas, sweet potatoes and okra.
If your annuals have succumbed to the June heat, plant coleus, portulaca (one of my favorites), vinca or celosia. Palms like our summers, so now is a good time to add one.
You can plant more of the same vegetables you added last month to extend your harvest.