New year, better garden
Seeds from papaya can be started indoors this month: Clean the pulp off each seed and plant about ¼ inch deep in a container of potting soil. Fresh seeds usually germinate in 10 to 15 days. Under ideal growing conditions, fruit should be produced in eight to 10 months. Seedlings planted in early March should produce edible fruit by November.
Watch for anthracnose on mango blooms this month: This disease appears as small, black, sunken areas on the flower spike. If left unchecked, it can kill the flowers, preventing the development of fruit. Begin treatment with copper fungicide when the bloom spikes first appear and continue spraying at weekly intervals until the fruit is fully formed, then spray monthly until June or July.
Citrus spray schedule: January is often referred to as an optional month when spraying citrus trees. Several citrus pests and nutritional deficiencies may need correcting before they cause extensive damage. Spray neutral copper for citrus scab and a light horticultural oil for scales, whitefly and mites. Micronutrients can be sprayed at the same time or added to the soil under the drip line of the tree. Micronutrients will be absorbed through the leaves and can correct the problem much faster than fertilizer added to the soil. Read and follow label directions for the correct amount to use. More information on home citrus culture can be found at edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_citrus_home_citrus_culture.
Compiled by Theresa Badurek, urban horticulture extension agent, UF/IFAS Pinellas County Extension Service. For additional landscape and garden information, visit pinellascountyextension.org. For regular tips and information about what's growing in Pinellas, go to facebook.com/growpinellas.