It’s the middle of winter, but you’re a gardener all the time. Well, maybe you want to be.
So what can you do in your garden in January?
There’s actually lots of prep work you can get out of the way now, to ensure better yields in the Spring.
Depending on your location, you may even be able to grow some great crops right now!
First, think about infrastructure…
Winter is a great time to build raised beds, plan out that new pollinator garden, and come up with a better storage system for your tools and hoses.
If your memories of summer consist of lugging hoses around and repairing kinks and splits in them, it might be a great idea to plan out an irrigation system.
Irrigation systems don’t have to be complex or expensive. Take some measurements, grab a notepad, and plan out your garden beds accordingly. Drip irrigation is water-efficient, fairly budget friendly, and very easy to install.
Next, maintain your perennials and soil…
Spread cover crop seeds like winter rye, golden flaxseed, daikon radish, and buckwheat in your garden and yard.
These crops act as a living mulch to protect bare soil from erosion and weed takeovers. They also return biomass and nutrients to the soil when they die.
Their blooms are great for pollinators, and their roots create deep channels that help aerate the soil, and allow water to permeate instead of run-off.
Mulch. Everything. It warms plants’ roots and protects the soil. But don’t make volcanoes, okay?
Add in some mycorrhizae and compost to your beds, and your beds will be well-fertilized for Spring.
Consider spraying your fruit trees with something natural to prevent scale and any winter-hardy pests from an early-Spring takeover. This link has some great DIY recipes for dormant oil fruit tree sprays.
Get your own composting bin here on Amazon!
Finally, prune anything that needs (or benefits from) pruning before the buds set out, in February!
Grapes, fruit trees (this video tells how!), and evergreen hedges can benefit from pruning. Rosemary, Thyme, and other hardy herbs will, too.
Now you’re ready to start seeds!
Maybe you’ve got a greenhouse or some cold frames, or maybe you’re in Zone 8 like me, and can start some seeds outside in late January!
There’s many veggies that are considered annuals that will happily overwinter in more Southern areas. Kale, Swiss chard, lettuces and cilantro all seem to thrive in Texas winters better than Texas summers, for example.
A few planters on a sunny windowsill indoors will give you a head-start on summer tomatos and peppers–but make sure to rotate the planter daily, to ensure your seedlings grow with strong, straight stems.
Check out this video by expert gardener Charles Dowding on how to start seeds…and get sowing!