Your January Garden Checklist
January is the month dream gardens are made of.
We have gotten over the holiday slump, passed through the darkest of nights and are entered into a New Year that seems optimistically full of new possibilities.
For many, January is often still a cold time. Snow may cover the ground, the earth likely frozen beneath your feet. Don’t be fooled, during this time, there is much we can do to start to prepare for a fruitful gardening season. This is one of my favorite times as the possibilities seem endless as I ooh and ahh over all of the new seed varieties that populate my favorite seed catalogues.
So what can we do when the ground is still cold? I am going to share with you an easy garden checklist to get you excited for whats to come.
Garden Tasks for Outside in January
Take a winter garden walk
- It might not look like much is going on yet take this time to walk around your yard and peak out at what plants may be trying to show you signs of life. You may find some green leaves hidden under a blanket of leaves or interesting seed heads that feed the birds. Pretend to view your garden as a child might, with curiosity and bravery. There are secrets being unearthed even in the winter garden for us to learn from.
Inspect your gardening tools
- What condition are your gloves in? Is it time for a new pair? Are your shovels and rakes rusting? Give all of your tools a good clean and oil so they last you for many seasons to come.
- How can you expand your garden to come and what ways could you add more winter interest. Make notes of this in your garden journal.
Prepare a new bed
- If you are looking to create a new garden plot on an existing lawn, now is a good time to think about smothering back that grass. You can use layers of cardboard or newspaper layered with compost and mulch, or get black plastic to cover the whole area and pin it down. I much prefer the cardboard method to cut down on plastic consumption. When using cardboard and newspaper look out for colored inks and remove all tape and stickers to the best of your ability. Costco is a great place to get boxes if you don’t have your own personal stack from Amazon.
Feed your soil
- Utilize fallen leaves, compost or well rotted manure. No need to work this in at this time, let the compost settle into the soil through the winter. Lots of exciting things are happening beneath that frozen soil.
- Winter pruning can be done as long as it is still very cold. Prune all trees while dormant like your apples and pears to open up the tree and remove older, spent branches. Fruits like gooseberries, currants, grapes and raspberries can all be pruned at this time.
Clean Pots & Seed Trays
- Clean out your pots and seed trays with a thorough washing using a weak solution of detergent and a stiff brush. This helps to protect your future plants from diseases or viruses. Here is my preferred germicide– super concentrated and lasts for a long time.
Garden Task for Inside in January
Start ordering your seeds now
- You will be surprised just how quickly some of the bests can be scooped up. It’s especially important if you are looking to try some new exotic varieties.
Plot out your new garden
- Map out your garden boxes or garden plots to decide where you will be planting by measuring out your planting spaces. This will save you so much time come the busy spring planting season.
Start seedlings indoors or in an insulated greenhouse
- Some seeds can be started indoors. Consult your seed packets for instruction on planting in your gardening zone. Here are my seed starting essentials.
Enjoy some nature reading
- Pick up a good gardening book or magazine to help expand your imagination for what is possible. See what I’m reading over on my bookshelf.
I hope this has inspired you. What else are you doing at home to prepare for the garden? Have any questions about any of these ideas? Let me know.
Located in Denver, Colorado? I am a gardening consultant here to help. My dream is to build communities of people growing their own food, protecting our beneficial pollinators, conserving water and deepening all of our personal relationships to nature. Contact me at [email protected] for details.