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View of a garden with tall wooden boxes holding soil.

January Garden To-Do List

Jan 25, 2021

January Garden To-Do List

January. How did that happen so fast?! To a gardener, January is often the first signal of upcoming spring. Because of the recent holidays, there are often tasks from December that weren't completed to get carried over into this new month. 

Various gardening tools and plants laid out on a wooden path with green bushes surrounding it.

Things will begin picking up pace in January compared to November and December's slower pace because the gardeners can feel that "ticking clock." It is important not to get side-tracked and take advantage of any good weather days to accomplish outside tasks.

  1. If you haven't already, prep your equipment and tools for next year. This will prevent so much frustration when you are excited to start that garden, and your tool is missing, needs repair, or your equipment won't start. Spring is never a time you want to take your gear to the shop because so many others are as well, and your wait can be long. For any needed replacements, check your local big box/hardware stores as they still may have clearance items from last year.
  2. If you didn't get all of those leaves raked in fall or early winter, now is the time to gather those to work into the soil or add to your compost pile.
  3. Your seed catalogs have likely arrived or are arriving daily. Now is the perfect time to dive in. Take inventory of what you have and order what you need. Now is the ideal time as so many seeds will become out of stock quickly. Much quicker than you would think.
  4. If you didn't in December, go ahead and sketch out any garden additions or revisions and list the material you need to complete the new tasks.
  5. Purchase any materials and start working on these additions on your warm-weather days. Some common tasks are building new garden boxes, if your ground is not frozen - tilling some of the beds, building any trellis needed, burning holes into your landscape fabric for seedlings. Knock as many of those activities as possible now before you get so busy with garden season.
  6. Continue to turn over your compost pile.
  7. If you don't have a composter or compost pile, now is the time to order one or build one.  It will be such a wonderful, nutrient-rich addition to your garden soil.
  8. Plan your garden for the year - determine whether to scale up or down.
  9. Plant any seeds that can and should be started inside. Follow the seed instructions. For example, I currently have geraniums and Lisianthus growing in my Yoderbilt greenhouse. Both are slow growers and should be ready after my zones last freeze date. Don't start too early; you do not want to plant anything too early and not be able to transplant it out in the garden when it's ready.
  10. Compost any of your seeds that are too old to be viable.
  11. If you have a greenhouse, NOW is the time to get it ready to be a workhorse for you. On a warm day, clear your greenhouse of all old plant material, clean your floors, prepare your tables, check your heat mats, make sure you have an ample supply of seed starting soil...tidy it up and make room for your seedlings.
  12. Buy bulbs for next fall. It seems strange, but now is the time to order your fall bulbs for NEXT spring.