January 2018
Welcome to a New Year of Gardening
Welcome 2018!

The new year may have arrived with freezing temperatures, but spring is less than three months away - 77 days. While winter winds may make it seem impossibly far away, there is much to do in the next 11 weeks to get ready. If you grow cool season veggies or flowers, there's quite a bit you can plant now.To help you plan and prepare for the gardening seasons ahead, we've revamped our newsletter to bring you more information each month. We'll feature a Plant, Beneficial Insect, and Garden Tip of the month in each issue and we've reorganized our monthly to-do list into a pruning list, a planting list, and a "Do" list for all the other tasks.

January brings the grand opening of our Seed Library, housed at the Virginia Beach Central Library. Join us on Sunday, January 20, from 2 - 4pm. We'll have education stations, children's activities, a pop up farm stand, and free seeds. Each month the Seed Library will feature three seeds - a vegetable, a flower, and an herb that can be planted that month. The Seed Library will be open and free to the public anytime the Central Library is open. Master Gardener volunteers will staff the library on the first Monday and third Saturday of each month beginning in February. A reference book will be available every day with information about the featured seeds and how to plant them. Seeds are available for everyone, with or without a library card.

The 2018 Gardening Talks kicks off this month, as well. Our first talk of the year will discuss the basics of beekeeping. These talks are held at the Virginia Beach Central Library and are free and open to the public.

Registration for our February workshops opens this month. Creating a Backyard Wildlife Habitat and the Insects and Pollinators workshops will both be held twice this year - first on Friday, February 16, and again on Saturday, February 17. Registration links will be posted on our Facebook page when registration opens. Both workshops are free.

As we look forward, we'd like your help in improving the programs and services that we offer to the public. We would appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to complete our survey. The survey should take about 5 minutes to complete and all responses are anonymous.

Here's to another year of digging and weeding, planting and harvesting!

CORRECTION: It was mistakenly written below that cucumbers and wax beans could be planted in January. I misread the planting chart and apologize for any confusion. These crops should not be planted until soil temperatures warm to above 65F and threat of frost has passed.

Have gardening questions? Help is available year round through the Master Gardener Help Desk by calling 757-385-8156 or email your question to vbmghelp@vbgov.com
January in the Garden
Butterfly Bush
Crape Myrtle
Evergreen Holly
Leyland Cypress
Red Twig Dogwood
Deciduous Holly
Southern Magnolia

Flowering Cherry
Fringe Tree
Magnolia (except Southern)
Flowering Peach
Wax beans
Bibb lettuce

Cucumbers and wax beans should not be planted in January.
  • Add extra mulch to exposed plant crowns to protect from cold temps
  • Look for pests or damage on branches and bark exposed after leaves have fallen
  • Turn soil to expose weed seeds and insect eggs to cold
  • Order seeds now for the best selection
  • Continue to water newly planted trees & shrubs if soil is dry
Common Name: Camellia
Scientific Name: Camellia sasanqua
Bloom Time: late fall to winter
Color: bloom color can vary from white to deep red
This evergreen shrub grows 6-10' tall and wide. Size can be controlled with proper pruning. Prefers part shade, but will tolerate full sun in moist soil conditions.
Zone: 7-9
Native range: Japan and China
Common Name: Praying Mantis
Scientific Name: Mantids
Time of Year Active: spring to fall
Where to See Them: Nymphs hatch out in late spring or early summer and can first be seen in the area around their egg casing (pictured above). Adults are generally found in foliage where they are camouflaged. Egg casings are deposited in the fall on twigs or plant stems, usually a few feet off the ground. If plant stems are going to be cut down in the fall or winter, stems with egg casings can be placed in a shrub until the nymphs hatch out.
Benefits: Mantids are carnivorous, general predators that can catch and eat nearly any insect prey. Generally, they lay in wait and ambush other insects. They are the only predator which feeds on moths at night and they are fast enough to catch mosquitoes and flies.
Photo credit: Gerald J. Lenhard, Louisiana State University, Bugwood.org

Bulbs forced for winter blooms can often be planted outdoors to provide additional blooms in summer and fall. Paperwhites and amaryllis are among those hardy in Zone 8a. Plant in full sun after last frost date.

Upcoming Events
Jan 26 - 28 - Virginia Flower & Garden Expo
Come visit our booth at the Virginia Flower & Garden Expo at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.

Jan 29 - Gardening Talk - Beekeeping Basics
Pam Fisher, VCE Chesapeake Master Gardener and beekeeper will teach the basics of keeping bees, as well as how to be around bees safely.
Free and Open to the Public; No Registration Required. Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library, 4100 Virginia Beach Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23452; 7-8pm.

Feb 26 - From the Ground Up - 5 Steps to Vegetable Gardening
Gil Gillespie, VCE Norfolk Master Gardener
Successful vegetable gardening starts with planning & preparation, goes through selection and planting, and ends with good eating. Free and Open to the Public; No Registration Required. Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library, 4100 Virginia Beach Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23452; 7-8pm.
Plan Ahead
Feb 16 & 17 - Creating a Backyard Habitat workshop and Insects and Pollinators workshop

Feb 24 - Tree Talks

Mar 10 - 1st Rain Barrel Workshop of 2018

If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact Jill Wright at 757-385-4769 during the business hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to discuss accommodations 5 days prior to the event. TDD number (800) 828-1120.  
Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Interim Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.