January in cold climate gardens can be pretty bleak, but there are chores and tasks still to do in the depths of winter. From cleaning up to growing cold-weather plants and planning for spring, your gardening hobby doesn’t have to take a winter break.
Garden Chores for Winter
If gardening is your passion, you probably dread the cold, dead days of January. You can make the most of this downtime. Instead of feeling bad about the season, take the opportunity to enjoy other aspects of your garden and get some much-needed chores done in preparation for the growing season.
Here are some garden tasks for January that you can do:
- Plan for spring. Instead of working on the fly, make a detailed plan for your garden for the coming year. Review your notes from last year, map out any changes to beds or plants, and create a list of seeds to buy and when to start them.
- Start buying. If you haven’t purchased seeds yet, now is the time to do it. January is the prime time for stocking up on seeds for the coming season. This is also a great time to share and trade seeds with fellow gardeners.
- Prune. Pruning shrubs and trees during dormancy is best. In winter you can see all the branches, making it easier to shape and identify damaged or diseased areas that should be removed. Leave spring flowering plants alone until after blooming though.
- Start certain seeds indoors. You may want to start some of your slower-growing, cold-season vegetables indoors now. This includes things like onions and leeks, beets, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage.
- Spot check and protect. Instead of ignoring the dormant garden for the season, get out there and check on plants regularly. Some may need additional protection. For instance, you may need to add some more mulch around plants with roots that are frost-heaving. Or some plants may require additional staking because of heavy winds and ice.
Additional January Gardening Tips
January doesn’t just have to be about chores. There are other ways to enjoy your yard and garden right now. For instance, winter is a great time to bird-watch. Your feathered friends benefit from food all year long. Keep the feeder full and put out some suet to keep them coming back. Replace the water regularly so they don’t get frozen out.
Bring the greenery and flowers indoors with forcing projects. Force spring bulbs like hyacinth or tulips. Or bring in branches from flowering shrubs and trees to force. You’ll get spring flowers early to help stave off the winter blues.