Are you determined to have a bigger and better garden this year? Most gardening years start out like that for me. It’s January, you’re ready to go, but the ground is frozen. Here are some tips to start off the new year’s garden right.
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I’ll make some suggestions for harvesting, planning, and garden maintenance. Keep in mind that I’m in hardiness zone 6a, so you may have to adjust my suggestions to be relevant to your climate.
Harvest from Under Protection Outdoors
This is a list of crops that were sown in early fall of the previous year, covered by row cover, cold frame, hoop house, greenhouse, or some other kind of protection, and harvested throughout the winter.
Here are some things you’ll need to do to prepare for the garden season.
- Design your garden
- Decide what to plant and how much
- Make seed & supply purchases (See my tips on how to choose a seed catalog and choosing vegetable seeds!)
- Figure out when to start seeds and plant seedlings
- Use a wall calendar to write in planting dates and maintenance tasks
- Set up an indoor seed starting system
If you can get some of these tasks completed this month (weather permitting), next month will be smooth sailing!
- Tidy the garden: Cut back dead plant matter
- Rake leaves and save them in a wire bin by your compost bin
- Clean, repair, and replace tools
Tidying the Garden
Did you leave last garden season in a huff, leaving the mess until spring? Get a jump on this year’s garden season by getting outside whenever the temperature is above freezing and doing some clean up work.
Here’s some work I did recently in the front yard rain garden:
I left it at the end of last season…
I used my garden scissors to cut back the dead sweet alyssum plant matter.
All cleaned up…
This is how much dead alyssum flower plant matter we got…
No garden bed should be left with bare soil, so my garden scissors came in handy to chop this into 3-inch pieces and reapply it as mulch to the same bed…
Looks the same only much tidier, and done in under an hour. And because the mulch is just sitting on top, it will be easy to push aside for planting new things in the spring.
Another note: I didn’t pull out the old plants, I cut them off at the base. Why? Their roots will biodegrade, enrich the soil, and feed the next plants to be planted here. This is how to manage the soil in a no-till garden.
What did I miss? What do you do in January?