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January's Garden

In the Garden – January

If you are like me, you can’t wait for spring, but there is still plenty to do this month even though it is winter. Depending upon where you live the weather will vary so some of these items listed below may not apply to your situation. Here in the Seattle area, we are currently having a mild winter so more can be done earlier to extend this year’s season.

Planning a head- right now- really helps the whole year go more smoothly! Make a list of crops you want to grow and split them into cool (fall thru spring) or warm season (spring thru fall) Get an extra calendar and write down what and when to plant, especially if you start seeds indoors.

Indoors- What to Do:

  • Seasonal Indoor & Houseplants – they may need some TLC! Repotting, fertilizing or maybe just some water. Monitor for pests- spider mites love the indoors and houseplants! If present, add a few drops inside a spray bottle with water-spray top and underneath leaves.

  • Seeds- do an inventory and organize them if needed. I use clear plastic show boxes with seeds organized by categories- Cool Season Veggies, Warm Season Veggies, Annuals, Perennials & Herbs. Order or purchase the seeds you want to grow this season. Join a seed savers or garden group.

  • Start Seeds Indoors- Start seeds that you plan to put outdoors within the next 4-6 weeks unless you have a greenhouse or other protect area. Cool season veggies, annuals and perennials are best started now. I planted Calendula and Lettuce seeds yesterday! Be creative and reuse plastic muffin containers, pie plates, cardboard packing material and other reusable containers.

Outdoors- What to Do:

  • Winter & Storm Damage- check your plants for winter or storm damage. Cover exposed roots with compost or mulch to protect from freeze damage. Remove fallen branches.

  • Monitor for Pests- I found aphids all over my Hellebores! I could have sprayed but decided to remove the old leaves as the new ones were emerging anyway. If you need to spray, use a “dormant oil” spray on plants with no leaves on them or deciduous and a “soap or summer oil” spray on plants with leaves when the temperatures are above 40 degrees. Only spray if you really need to using the least toxic method. Exceptions would be fungal & insect prone plants like fruit trees & roses which could benefit from a dormant spray application.

  • Slug & Snail Control- monitor, if present use Sluggo or other environmentally/pet safe product. Place rough sided gravel, broken pottery pieces or copper strips around plants that slugs like.

  • Weeding- it is easier to remove weeds when they are weakened by cold weather. Use white vinegar, salt and soap spray on weeds on walk paths, driveways or garden beds- avoid spraying desired plants as they can be damaged by the spray.

  • Pruning- plants that have finished blooming Camellias or fruit trees (or wait a month). Don’t go over board pruning now, winter can still cause damage to newly pruned buds.

  • Planting & Transplanting- Plant summer blooming bulbs, perennials, shrubs & trees as long as the ground is not frozen. You may start to see “bare root” plants- with out soil- fruit trees, cane berries and roses available now or soon. They can be planted now through late March/early April. This is also a great time for transplanting ornamental grasses, trees, shrubs and perennials. Add seasonal color- Pansies & Violas, Primroses, Cyclamen or hardy plants Hellebores (Lenten Rose) or Heather.

  • Feed the Critters- Provide seeds and suet for songbirds (and squirrels if you like), hummingbird feeders full and a water source if you are into that!

If you have gardening questions you can email me at I also do Herbal, Garden & Pond Consultations online or in-person and teach garden classes at Pierce and Highline Colleges with online classes coming soon! Upcoming- Indoor Gardening classes Jan. 19th 2019 at Highline Feb.16th at Pierce College

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