Hard to fathom another year is beginning, and your garden is anxiously awaiting your attention.
It isn’t too early to get a jump start on the next growing season. There’s usually something to do for your garden at any point in the year. It could be actual hands-on chores or preparing for the next season.
Which is why I’ll be sharing with you what you should be doing to help your garden right now, based on your planting zone and region.
Here’s what you could be doing around your garden this January:
Garden Chores by Planting Zone
1. Seeds Matter
You probably know everyone begins to jump on placing their seed orders at the beginning of the year. If you aren’t in the same crowd, many stores run out of the seeds you want.
Therefore, you’re forced to deal with replacement seeds. Don’t miss out on the seeds you want to grow next. Place your order now!
2. Prepare for the Spring
Have you been eyeballing your fruit trees and daydreaming of when they produce again? Have you noticed any growths sprouting out of the bottom of the fruit tree?
Well, cut it off, wrap it in a wet paper towel, store it in a Ziploc bag, and place in the freezer. This is known as a cutting and can be used to graft and make more fruit trees come spring.
1. Place Your Seed Order
Do you know what seeds you need for the next season? Don’t hesitate and wait around when ordering seeds because stores run out quickly.
Instead, make a note of what seeds you have and which you need. For the seeds you need, get a jump on ordering them.
2. Start Making Plans
The next season will be here before you know it. For the avid gardener, this is where we queue a happy dance.
But you should begin planning your next garden. Draw it up on paper. Know what you want to plant and where it should be planted. This will make starting your garden a ton easier.
3. Check-Up on Things
It has probably been a while since you’ve seen your gardening tools. Take a browse to the tool shed when you’re able.
Make sure the elements haven’t gotten to any of them, and they’re still in good shape. If not, make repairs or replace before you need them.
4. Start Offering Support
Chances are you’ll grow something in your yard or garden which will need support. It could be roses, green beans, squash, or any other plant with a vine.
Therefore, you’ll want a trellis. This is the perfect time to stay busy building a DIY trellis. It will offer the support needed and make your yard shine.
5. Harvest When You Can
January usually has a few days where the temperatures warm and the ground thaws. This is the perfect time to do a little harvesting.
If you planted Jerusalem artichokes or parsnips, use these warm days to take a few out of the ground. It’ll be a nice treat.
1. Get the Flowers Going
Some spring flowers take a while to start. One example is pansies. I love them, but they take some time and effort.
Therefore, you should begin this month with starting pansies indoors. Give them love and attention, and you should have gorgeous flowers to plant outdoors when the temperatures warm.
2. Get Ready to Start Seeds
January is the time when every gardener gets a little extra pep in their step because we all know it’s almost time to start a bunch of seeds.
Well, use the time you have left to make sure you’re ready. Stock up on any seed-starting mix you may need. Also, make sure you have plenty of fertilizer too.
1. Lay of the Land
Do you have specific projects you know you’re going to do this upcoming year? Have you spent all winter daydreaming about them?
Use this month to begin mapping out where the projects are going to be placed on your property. Make sure you have an idea of how you want things to look before you jump into the plans.
2. Take Care of Your Feathered Friends
Birds are a beautiful part of nature you can enjoy over the winter months. They offer entertainment, beauty, and a little bit of cheer during a drab time of year.
Make sure they know how much you appreciate them by taking care of them. Fill your bird feeders with bird seed.
3. Get Organized
January is the month you begin to go through all your seeds. This will let you know what seeds you have already, and which seeds you need for the next season.
Once you know what you’re missing, get a jump start on placing your order. You don’t want to have to deal with substitutions if you can help it.
4. Take Care of Your Bushes
Have you dealt with a good bit of snowfall this year? Your bushes are most likely covered with heavy amounts of it.
To give your bushes a bit of a reprieve, try knocking the heavy snow off of them.
5. Get the Spring Flowers Going
Do you enjoy the fresh look of flowers in the spring? If you don’t want to spend a fortune buying flowers to add color to your home in the spring, you must get started now.
You can start pansies from seed indoors. This will give them time to sprout and gain strength before being transplanted outdoors.
6. Start Some Veggies
Though it’s only January, there are some vegetables you can go ahead and start from seed. Try to wait until the end of the month before jumping into this task, though.
If you enjoy broccoli, onions, cabbage, or cauliflower go ahead and start them indoors from seeds.
1. Put the Warm Days to Use
It’s inevitable at some point in January you’ll have a few warm days. Put these days to good use.
During the winter, chickweed and wild onions like to sprout in some of your garden beds. Use the warm days to pull these items out of your garden beds.
2. Start Seeds
Towards the end of January, there are some seeds you should get busy starting indoors. If you enjoy broccoli and cabbage, they can be started inside.
However, you can also grow some lettuce indoors too. This will be a welcomed task considering it’s difficult to have many fresh greens over the winter months.
3. Direct Sow Certain Veggies
Though it’s cold outside, there are some vegetables which are hearty enough to be able to withstand the temperatures.
You can direct sow cabbage seeds and onion seeds outdoors. Be sure to plant them in a cold frame or under row covers for added protection.
4. Prep Strawberries and Asparagus
Do you have established strawberry and asparagus beds in your yard or garden? It’s time to take care of them.
Begin by pulling any weeds in the beds. Finish the job by adding fertilizer to the beds and topping them with a fresh layer of mulch.
1. Start Planting
January is a busy time of year in this zone. You can begin planting certain crops to enjoy for years to come.
This month is when you should start your asparagus beds, strawberry beds, and fruit trees too. Take time this month to get these items planted.
2. Mulch the Overwintered Crops
Did you leave certain root crops in the ground over winter? It’s a good idea to do this because frost can sweeten their flavor.
However, January is a good month to add an extra layer of mulch to these crops.
3. Apply Row Covers
You can plant cabbage, broccoli, and onions this month. It’s important to keep up to date on the weather.
When you hear there’s a threat for frost, be prepared to pull out the row covers to protect these new crops.
4. Plant Certain Crops
This is a busy month for planting new crops. You can start the following crops from seed:
5. Time for Compost
If you have established garden beds, you probably took care of them by adding compost and rotted manure to them before winter.
However, it’s a good idea to add a top layer of compost to the garden beds this month. It adds more nutrients to the beds before planting.
6. Start Spring Flowers
Do you enjoy bright colors when spring arrives? You must start now if you want to grow your spring flowers.
You can direct sow them into the beds, but flowers such as snapdragons should be planted now. You can direct sow herbs as well.
1. Time to Prune
January is a great time to prune if you live in this zone. If you have fruit trees or bushes in need of shaping up, take the time to do it now.
This month is the time to help these plants become healthier and better producers by simply trimming away a few areas.
2. Tomatoes and Peppers
Do you enjoy fresh tomatoes and peppers? You can have plenty this year, but you must begin the process now.
Though it’s too early to start tomatoes and peppers outside, you can go ahead and start them from seed inside.
I love wildflowers in open fields and beds. If you have an area in your yard which could use some added color, consider growing wildflowers.
January is the month to direct sow them wherever you choose. They’re easy to grow and will do wonders for a bland place.
4. Fresh Flowers
Do you like the look of pansies or primroses? January is the month to transplant these flowers into your yard.
Whether you grow them in a bed or randomly plant them around your property, they’ll be a beautiful addition.
5. Time for More Veggies
January is a busy month for planting in this zone. It’s a great time to direct sow many vegetables outdoors.
If you love broccoli, carrots, cilantro, parsley, or spinach, you can begin to grow them right now.
6. Time to Harvest
Did you overwinter certain crops outdoors? This is a great thing to do because, with root vegetables especially, it can cause them to become sweeter with each frost.
However, now is the time to harvest the crops you overwintered. If you have any carrots, Brussels Sprouts, or radishes left, it’s time to bring them in.
1. Get Through Dry Season
Zone ten is usually dry during January. Therefore, you must do what it takes to get your plants through this period.
Practice effective watering techniques and be sure to water your plants regularly. This can help take some of the stress off them.
2. Add Some Compost Tea
Are your roses a gorgeous sight? It’s a good idea to fertilize them during this month to give them a needed boost of nutrients.
If you have compost and make compost tea, this is a great way to give your roses nutrients naturally.
3. Time for Mulch
Are you growing peas this year? They should be starting to produce by this point, but wouldn’t you like production to carry on?
Well, add mulch around your peas to encourage further production. It should help bump your harvest.
4. Time to Plant
January is a great time to plant many different crops. You can direct sow pumpkins and winter squash in your garden.
However, you can also plant fast producing or heat-tolerant varieties of carrots, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, parsley, and dill.
5. Start Seeds
Though many plants are ready for the outdoors, not every crop is. Therefore, it’s important to start some crops indoors.
If you enjoy cucumbers and watermelons, start these crops indoors this month. When the temperatures rise, they can be transplanted.
Gardening Tasks by Region
- Add organic material such as compost and rotted manure to garden beds
- Control weeds in your garden while they’re still young and haven’t taken over
- Be on guard against frost; prepare to cover crops when necessary
- Test soil pH levels and amend where necessary
- Order Seeds
- Plan your upcoming garden
- Test soil pH levels and modify where necessary
- Clean out your garden shed and toss anything which is outdated or is going unused
- Prune your trees while they’re still dormant
- Reapply mulch in areas where it thinned out over the winter
- When temperatures rise, be sure to water your plants thoroughly
- Remove any snow which may be lingering on your bushes to avoid any damage which may be caused by their weight
- Order seeds promptly
- Remove snow from trees or shrubs to prevent any damage the pressure could cause them
- Fill your bird feeders
- Get rid of any limbs which may have been damaged by snow and ice; they could be hazardous to you or your home
- Check your fruit trees for any damage which may have been caused by winter pests; treat accordingly
- Order seeds now
- Check stored bulbs for mold and make sure the moisture level is good; if not, move the bulbs to a different location and rewrap them
- Plan and map out your garden
- Remove snow from any branches where they’re hanging with little to no support and could become hazardous
- Prune fruit trees while they’re still dormant
- Plant lettuce as an indoor crop under grow lights
- Prune trees and shrubs
- Check soil pH levels and amend as necessary
- Plant new trees and shrubs
- Fertilize fruit trees which were previously planted; apply horticultural oil
- Add manure and compost to garden beds and turn into the earth
- Plant lettuce, cabbage, beets, carrots, broccoli, turnips, spinach, radishes, cauliflower, and peas
You’re now in the know as to what you should be doing around your garden by both your planting zone and your region.
It’s a good idea to cross-reference the two lists to make sure you don’t miss out on anything. This will help you to make sure your garden is at its best when it’s time to start your new garden for the year.