January Gardening Checklist
Countdown to Spring
The holiday season is past, the days are finally getting longer and lighter,
and many gardeners are itching to get out into the dirt and get a jump on spring.
- Start a gardening journal for the new year. Wire coil sketchbooks work well
for notes, planning, ideas, germination times, and results. You'll enjoy it
next winter when you plan the next season's garden and appreciate the wealth
of accurate information.
- Recycle the Christmas tree. If you have access to a chipper, mulch it and
spread around garden beds. If not, remove decorations, then move to back yard
and add winter suet and seed ornaments for passing birds.
- Clean yard of any downed or broken branches. Tie any vines or climbers that
have come loose from their supports.
- Check stored bulbs and tubers for signs of damage or rot. Discard any that
are bad. For dahlias, cut out the bad spots, then dust with sulphur. Store
in vermiculite or sawdust.
- Place seed and plant order if you haven't already.
- If you want to plant fruit trees or shrubs, order your bare root plants now. (Bare root grow faster and better than potted plants purchased later in the season.)
- Organize pots, soil, heating mats, and lights for growing from seed.
- Prepare to start seeds. Calculate the last frost for your region, then count
back five to six weeks for your start date. Sow in seedling mix per instructions
on seed packet. Mist as needed to keep soil damp. Watering from bottom encourages
stronger root development.
- Prune a couple long branches of forsythia for indoor forcing.
- It's a good time to prune many of your trees and shrubs as long
as they are not early spring bloomers like rhodies, azalea, and lilac. Apples,
grapes, currants, and gooseberries are candidates. Check a good plant reference
for each plant as instructions vary.
- If you've procrastinated on tool care, now is the time to make sure the
mower is serviced and other tools are clean and sharp.
- Catch up on garden reading and incorporate a few new ideas into this year's
Gardening from Seed: The Keys to Success with Flowers and Vegetables
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