View All Posts

Dec 31

January: Time for cold-season chores in the garden

Posted on December 31, 2020 at 2:59 PM by Diane Carmony

January sits in the middle of the Coachella Valley’s three-month cold season with pleasant days and cool nights. Temperature highs linger in the low 70s with lows in the mid-40s.   While it is unusual, you might see frost, particularly in the Eastern Valley.

It is an ideal month to make additions or changes in the garden. It is the last opportunity to plant bare-root roses, grapes, and deciduous fruit trees. They need to establish roots before temperatures rise.

Now is the time to transplant cold hardy plants, including perennials.

Check your tree stakes and ties. Trees may have grown over the summer and ties might be too tight on trunks. Thinking of the strong winds coming soon be sure the stakes are secure.

By now red bird of paradise shrubs have gone dormant. Cut back the stems to about 18 inches above ground level to encourage lush growth and flowering when it warms up.


  • Prepare your garden soil for spring planting by mixing in 2 inches of organic material (compost, manure).
  • Hand weed before weedy species go to seed.
  • Prune established deciduous fruit trees before they leaf out.
  • Prune your roses.

What to plant

  • Plant cool-season cole transplants like broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, and kale.
  • Plant cool-season vegetable seeds like artichokes and beets.
  • Create an indoor herb garden. Basil, cilantro, dill, and thyme are popular choices.
  • Plant new bare root deciduous, low-chill trees such as peach, fig, apricot, and nectarine.

For more ideas

 “Lush and Efficient: Desert-Friendly Landscaping in the Coachella Valley” lists more than 300 plants with over 800 photos. You can search by several dozen categories. Find the 160-page book at for $10 with free shipping. Or, look at a PDF of the book at, click on Conservation.



You must log in before leaving your comment