January Tips & Events for Santa Clara County
"On the winter branch
a dry leaf turns and turns
Dervish in the wind”
— Gunilla Norris, On the Wing
Become a UC Master Gardener!
Giving plant advice to the public at an event
Have you ever thought about becoming a Master Gardener? Do you have a love of gardening and a strong desire to share your knowledge? We're looking for people to help us give talks, advise school gardens, staff a helpline, work in demonstration gardens, and more ! If you're interested, learn about the application process . The next training class will begin in January 2019.
Photo - UC, Chuck Ingels
Dry Weather
So far this winter has been dry. This means that you need to check to make sure your plants are getting enough water. Proper watering keeps plants healthy and helps protect them on cold nights. This dry spell also reminds us to continue choosing drought-tolerant plants for our gardens. 

Photo: microsprinkler irrigation, UC, Chuck Ingels
Photo Laura Balaoro
Dry Succulents
Unlike most other plants, succulents survive frost better if kept somewhat dry. They are adept at storing water which is an advantage during hot dry weather. In the winter, however, the water stored in the plant can freeze and damage the plant tissue. To help prevent frost damage, keep succulents warm by moving them or covering them. 

Photo: Frost tender Agave attenuata ‘Ray of Light’, Laura Balaoro
Photo University of California
Cane Berries
Blackberries, olallieberries, and raspberries can be planted now from bare root, while they are dormant. Make sure the roots do not dry out before or right after planting. The berry plants do best in well-drained, amended soil. Keep in mind that they can spread if not contained, so give them either borders or plenty of space.

Photo: Raspberries and blackberries, Photo: University of California
 Fruit & Vegetable Preservation Resources Blog
Extra Heat
The hottest chiles need a long growing season and can be started indoors from seed as early as January. Putting them on heat mats or in another warm location helps the seeds to germinate. The rate of germination decreases rapidly when soil temperatures are below 77°F (25°C). Since peppers are frost-sensitive at any growth stage, keep them indoors until warmer weather.  Day temperatures of 75° to 85°F (23.9° to 29.4°C) with night temperatures about 50° to 60°F (10° to 15.6°C) are ideal for growth. 

Photo, UC David Rosen
Ripe Citrus
The most common fruits in our gardens right now are oranges, limes, and lemons. Allow them to fully ripen on the tree to reach maximum sweetness. Keep in mind that many lime peels turn yellow when they are fully ripe. If the fruit does not twist off easily, cut it off with clippers or scissors to avoid tearing the peel.

Photo: UC, David Rosen
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Upcoming Events
Sat, Jan 06, 2:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.,  Backyard Deciduous Fruit Tree Basics , Sunnyvale Public Library, 665 W Olive Avenue,  Sunnyvale

Tue, Jan 09, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  Winter Fruit Tree Care and Selection , Gilroy Library, 350 W 6th St,  Gilroy

Tue, Jan 16, 7:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m.,  Success in the Year-Round Vegetable Garden: Six-Week Class (Registration required, $96), Palo Alto High School,  Palo Alto

Wed, Jan 17, 6:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m.,  DIY Worm Composting , West Valley Branch Public library, 1243 San Tomas Aquino Rd,  San Jose

Wed, Jan 17, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  Growing Fabulous Citrus , Milpitas Library, 160 N Main Street,  Milpitas

Sat, Jan 20, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.,  Hands-On Succulent Propagation  (Registration required, $15, note: attendance is open to all regardless of ability to pay), Martial Cottle Park, 5283 Snell Avenue,  San Jose (only 6 slots remaining!)

Sat, Jan 20, 11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.,  Winter Fruit Tree Pruning , San Jose Berryessa Library, Noble Avenue 3355,  San Jose

Mon, Jan 22, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  Building a Raised Bed , Morgan Hill Library, 660 W Main Ave,  Morgan Hill

Sat, Jan 27, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.,  Pruning Deciduous Trees , St. Louise Hospital Teaching & Demo Garden, 400 No Name Uno Way,  Gilroy

Mon, Jan 29, 7:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m.,  Success in the Year-Round Vegetable Garden: Six-Week Class  (Registration required, $75), FUHSD Adult School, 591 W Fremont Ave,  Sunnyvale

Wed, Jan 31, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  Vegetable Garden Beginnings: the First Year with a New Garden , Los Altos Library, 13 S San Antonio Rd,  Los Altos

Wed, Jan 31, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  Winter Fruit Tree Pruning , Cupertino Community Hall, 10350 Torre Ave.,  Cupertino

Sat, Feb 10, 2:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.,  Growing Citrus in Santa Clara County , Sunnyvale Public Library, 665 W Olive Ave,  Sunnyvale
Visit the UC Master Gardener Program website  for additional information including an up-to-date list of events and classes .

Have a gardening question? Contact our Hotline (for Santa Clara County residents). Start by reviewing our plant  problem diagnosis tips .
  • Mon-Fri 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., 408-282-3105
  • Fri ONLY 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m., 650-329-1356 (Closed Dec. & Jan.)
  • Or send us your question online

The University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Santa Clara County Master Gardener Program volunteers are trained under the auspices of the UCCE. Our mission is to promote sustainable gardening practices by providing up-to-date, research-based horticultural information to home gardeners.

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