The Plant Man: Answering your January planting questions

By Steve Kawaratani

“The garden year has no beginning and no end.” –Elizabeth Lawrence

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Photos courtesy of Steve Kawaratani

Steve Kawaratani

January reveals herself with rain, wind and chillier temperatures, gardeners find themselves amidst tasks that are not necessarily specific to a particular season. A gardening to-do list includes ensuring plants receive sufficient moisture between winter storms, vigilant weeding to prevent unwelcome plants from establishing and fertilizing cool season plants that are actively growing. Understanding that garden beauty begins with endeavor, let’s get back to the garden with the Plant Man.

Q: What can I do for my garden if it’s raining?

A: Use the time to plot and plan; consider landscape improvements, buy bareroot roses and order seeds and bulbs for the upcoming months.

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A rose after dormant season pruning

Q: What is the most important garden chore during January?

A: The next 45 days are the ideal time for pruning dormant trees and shrubs. Give attention to your roses, fruit trees and deciduous ornamentals.

Q: What veggies can I plant now?

A: Laguna enjoys a mild winter climate, making it ideal for growing cool-season vegetables, such as lettuce, peas, carrots and spinach.

Q: What happens if there are frost warnings?

A: While frost is rare in the village, it’s wise to be prepared. Have frost blankets and portable fans on hand to protect sensitive plants on chilly nights and move potted plants to sheltered areas if necessary.

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Eco-friendly horticultural oil for garden pests and disease

Q: What garden problems are amongst us during the winter?

A: Look for signs of pests and diseases, especially aphids and powdery mildew. Practice pest management for infestations by using eco-friendly pest controls like horticultural oil.

By dedicating time to your garden to-do list, you will be ensuring a significant difference in the health and beauty of your plants. Embrace the opportunities during January to lay the groundwork for a beautiful and bountiful garden with warmer days ahead. See you next time.

Steve Kawaratani has been a local guy for seven decades and likes to garden and drive the Baja Peninsula with Catharine and Loki. He can be reached at or 949.494.5141.

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