You may not think that there’s much to do in the garden this month, but you’ll be surprised to know that there is plenty to do behind the scenes. Here are some January gardening tips and things to work on in your Pacific Northwest garden.
It’s January, the beginning of a new gardening season.
The garden may not be ready for planting with the cold and wet weather, but it is definitely time to start planning and getting ready for the upcoming year.
Here are some January gardening tips and things to do to get your garden ready for the next growing season.
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Garden Planning and Placing Orders
Map Out Your Garden
Mapping out the garden is an important part of the planning process.
There are vegetables that need to be rotated every year. Crop rotation prevents the build-up of soil-borne pests and disease and allows nutrients in the soil to be replenished.
Members of the same plant family shouldn’t be planted in the same garden space more than once every 3-4 years.
Choose Your Garden Seeds
If you haven’t already determined which varieties of seeds you will be sowing this year, now is the time to make a decision and order your seeds.
Before you decide which seeds to buy, here are a few things you should do first.
- Take an inventory of your existing garden seeds.
- Look at your gardening journals and pictures of your garden from last year to see what varieties worked and will be in your garden again.
- Go through all the seed catalogs you’ve been getting in the mail, as well as online and choose what you want to grow in your garden this coming year.
Old seeds that are more than 3-4 years old or those that haven’t been stored properly often have germination rates below 50%. Look for the packaging date printed on the seed pack, and then compare how old your seeds are to this seed viability chart for flowers, vegetables, and herbs.
Here are the flower seed selections I have made in the past…
Order Bare-Root Fruit Trees and Plants
Order any bare-root trees and plants you want to grow in the garden this year in January or February. They will be shipped to you when it’s the right time to plant them in your area before they begin breaking dormancy.
Plant Bare-Root Trees and Plants
Plant Bare-Root Roses
Start planting bare-root roses in the garden as early as late January through March. My roses from last year were from Breck’s Bulbs.
Plant Bare-Root Fruit Trees
It’s important to plant bare-root trees before they break dormancy.
Test the Soil in the Garden
Winter is a good time to test your soil to find out which amendments it may need before spring planting.
Seed Starting Prep
Clean Workspaces, Containers and Tools
Prepare your greenhouse or indoor space for sowing seeds. Clean your workspace, tools, and any pots or trays that you have previously used to grow seeds. You can soak your containers in a 9 part water and 1 part water solution to kill micro-organisms.
Inventory Your Supplies and Purchase What You Need
Take an inventory of your seed starting supplies and purchase what you will need. Order now due to shortages and extra shipping times.
Start pruning dormant fruit trees, shrubs, and grapevines to…
- promote healthy growth and fruit production.
- remove crossing limbs
- give good air circulation and sun penetration
Trim Dead Perennials
Trim any perennials with dead or diseased branches and dead canes from rose bushes.
Spray Fruit Trees
Spray fruit trees with horticultural or dormant oil to help prevent pests and disease. Spraying in winter when other beneficial insects are not around is important.
Clean and Sharpen Gardening Tools
Clean and sharpen your gardening tools now so they will be in top working condition when you need them in another month or so.
Check Bulbs, Tubers, Corms and Overwintering Plants
If you are storing bulbs, tubers, or corms indoors, check to make sure that they aren’t too dry or rotting.
Check on any plants that you are overwintering to make sure they are not too dry and cut off any areas that may be diseased to keep them from spreading to the other parts of the plant.
Push down any bulbs or perennials that are coming out of the soil. Alternating freezing and thawing weather, hard rains, and pesty moles can cause bulbs and perennials to pop up out of the ground which can expose their roots and dry them out and die. Replace mulch around the plant if needed.
I hope this gives you an idea of some gardening to-dos that need to be done here in the Pacific Northwest for the month of January.
Please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.
Until next time,