Average Rainfall and Temperatures:
January is normally the third wettest
month of the year on the Plateau with an average rainfall of 5.52 inches.
Rainfall averages cover records for the last 30 years. Keeping in mind that
temperature ranges are broader than the average, we report here only the average
maximums and minimums for the month. For January, the average maximum
temperature is 44 degrees F., and the minimum is 24 degrees F. Temperature
averages cover records over the last 30 years.
the cold months on the plateau, planning activities for the coming spring is a
welcome diversion. This is an excellent time to draw maps of your property. With
several copies you can plot out projects for the spring such as flowerbeds and
vegetable garden plots.
As seed and plant
catalogs arrive in your mail, take a special look at some new plants and
consider them for your garden this year. Black
Velvet petunia is a true deep black blossom with bright green leaves.
A second one is Angelmist spreading angelonia (also called summer
snapdragon), which is very durable and heat-tolerant and comes in dark purple,
light blue and white. Fireworks
pennisetum is very heat and drought tolerant, and is an updated version of the
very popular purple fountain grass, with hot pink leaves highlighted with dark
burgundy stripes down the center. The
fourth new plant to consider is Incrediball hydrangea that has 12-inch pure
white blossoms against bright green leaves.
It grows no more than 3 feet tall and is very winter-hardy and
disease-resistant. Lastly you may
consider the Bloomerang purple lilac. It
is a reblooming compact plant with an intoxicating fragrance that will last for
3 months, not just weeks. It grows
4 to 5 feet tall and wide.
Think about structures
to add to the beauty of areas you have already planted. Draw paths through your
planted and grassy areas and invite people to walk on them. Look for benches,
birdbaths of an unusual nature, and interesting outdoor sculptures to place
along the paths or at the ends of them.
As you sit indoors,
look out your windows and enjoy your work from the year before.
In winter, you can see the structure of deciduous shrubs, and seed heads
which were left for the birds to enjoy. Without
winter, we would not appreciate other season nearly as much.
Thanksgiving or Christmas cacti are through blooming, give them a sunny location
indoors. Fertilize every 4 to 6 weeks with a complete houseplant fertilizer, and
water when the soil feels dry. These plants should be potted in a soil medium
that has some moisture retention, but also has good drainage. The best mix is
peat moss, commercial potting soil and builderís sand.
Hopefully you are
composting. Remember that itís not only rich in nitrogen, phosphate and
potassium, but also contains a wealth of minerals and trace elements necessary
for healthy plants. It also loosens clay soil, binds sandy soil, helps soil
retain moisture, and is the one thing guaranteed to attract earthworms that
till, aerate and fertilize soil. If youíre just starting a compost pile, begin
piling up all organic matter you can find. Dead leaves, grass clippings, straw
or hay, kitchen leftovers and scraps (but not meat products), weeds, pine
needles, vegetable cooking water, tea, tea bags, dryer lint, hair, bread scraps,
stale beer and cola (sugar is an activator), used paper towels and napkins
(helps retain moisture), cardboard tubes from toilet paper or paper towels.
If Mother Nature is
unleashing lots of wind, the moisture could be sucked from the earth. If this
happens, itís well to hand water newly planted trees, shrubs and perennials,
as well as bulbs and evergreens.
Watch for blossoms on
Leather-leaf mahonias and on Lenten roses late this month.
When the ground is
frozen or dry, plants cannot replace lost water. Leaves and branches may dry or
appear scorched. Keep watering plants until the ground freezes. After freezing
weather arrives, mulch above the root area to stabilize the soil temperature.
Two or three inches of mulch reduces the depth of freezing and allows plant
roots more soil moisture in winter.
can consist of repotting houseplants -- potting up or down as needed. Some
indoor plants can be propagated for gifts for friends or for sales. Winter is
also time to get on the Internet at the many garden and plant sites to plan for
Many birds will come to feeders if
you keep them supplied with wild bird food, especially oily black sunflower
seeds. Birds you may see during January include:
Red-bellied woodpecker, Hairy woodpecker,
Downy woodpecker, Pileated woodpecker, Flicker, Ring-neck duck, Ruddy duck,
Muscovy duck, Mallard duck, Gadwall duck, Lesser scaup, Bufflehead, Canada
goose, American goldfinch, Song sparrow, Carolina wren, Tufted titmouse,
Mourning dove, Purple finch, Carolina chickadee, Wild turkey, Eastern bluebird,
Blue jay, Red-tailed hawk, European starling, American crow, Nuthatch, Cardinal,
Robin, House finch, Junco, Brown thrasher, Cedar waxwing, American bald eagle,
American kestral, Yellow-rumped warbler, Red-winged blackbird, Quail, Killdeer,
Black-eyed junco and Red-headed woodpecker.
You may also see deer, fox, squirrel, skunk, opossum and rabbits.
information has been created by the Cumberland County Master Gardeners
Association, Crossville TN