I’m so excited to share my “gardening by month” tips for January! The holidays are over, and now it’s time to start thinking about getting your garden ready for Spring! I’ve always felt more organized when planning my gardening tasks by month. It just seems more attainable to me, and I get so excited when I can check off my projects at the end of each month!
There are two things I want you to keep in mind when reading this. First, I live in gardening zone 8. It is important to check your zone to find out when your frost dates are, and plan your chore list accordingly. Secondly, I am not a Master Gardner. Everything I have learned about gardening has come from trying new things, making a lot of mistakes, and looking things up on the internet. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s move forward!
Start Your Garden Planning in January
The most important gardening chore to do for the month of January, if you haven’t already done so, is to create a plan for your garden. I use the Old Farmer’s Almanac garden planner to determine where I will plant my flowers and veggies in my raised garden beds. I do pay for a yearly subscription for this planner, but for me it’s worth it because I don’t take thorough notes throughout the year. You can also sketch out your own plan if you are a good note taker.
Mapping out your garden is such an important part of the planning process. There are crops that need to be rotated every year, and you must keep track of where you plant them. Crop rotation prevents the build-up of soil-borne pests and disease, and allows for the replenishment and efficiency of soil nutrients. Members of the same plant family shouldn’t be planted in the same garden space more than once every three or four years.
Seed Shopping in January
I’m sure if you are a gardener, you have gotten quite an assortment of seed catalogs! I order my flower seeds the first week of January. I buy the majority of these seeds from Floret Flowers. When shopping with Floret Flowers, my tip is to have a wish list already prepared. This way, when the seeds become available at 9:00 a.m. PST on the first Monday of the month, I can move the list to my cart and purchase them immediately. Erin’s business, Floret Flowers, is growing so quickly, that many of my favorite seeds are sold out within hours of them becoming available online.
Seed Starting Prep
The next thing I do is to prepare my greenhouse for starting seeds. Now is the time to clean any pots or trays that you have previously used to grow seeds. You can soak them in a bleach and water solution to kill micro-organisms. I buy a potting start mix especially for new seed starts and fill pots to sow my sweet peas and pansies.
Other January Gardening To Do’s
January is a perfect time to shop for evergreen shrubs such as rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas. If you place any online orders for bare-root fruit trees, vines or bushes, the nursery will ship the plants to you at the right time to plant, before dormancy. Bare-root trees, roses and shrubs can be added to your garden in the month of January. And let’s not forget about artichokes and asparagus.
It is not too early to start pruning dormant fruit trees, shrubs and grape vines. It’s important to take out any dead and diseased branches, or any branches that are crossing over each other. This process will provide the trees good air circulation and sun. January is a good time to move any dormant trees and shrubs that you need to find another space for.
I’ve noticed lately that some of my perennials and bulbs have pushed out of the ground. This happens when there is alternating freezing and thawing weather. Make sure to push them back into the soil so the exposed roots don’t dry out and die. Replace mulch around the plant if needed.
To help me stay organized, I have created a gardening notebook with everything at my fingertips, and all in one place for easy access. You can include a gardening to-do list by month, a calendar, any informative articles and the gardening plan for the year.