What garden tasks can you do in winter? Here's a simple list of January garden chores for fruits, vegetables, flowers, plus general yard tasks to stay on top of things before spring - including planning and ordering seeds. Includes a printable checklist to download and customize.
January is a great time for planning - not only for the typical goals and what we want to do for the new year, but for our gardens as well.
PRO TIP: The time you take to plan for what you want to grow, where you want to grow them, and how you'll grow them will lessen the work you'll have to do in the spring. (This free multi-page garden notebook will help!)
Plus, it's fun to dream - and all gardens are perfect gardens in our dreams, right?
I like to take the time to slowly go through all my favorite seed catalogs first, circling what looks good, before I come back with my list and winnow down all the circles.
I look forward to this part of gardening every year.
We can also take this time to prep our tools and supplies for the coming season if it didn't happen in the fall (*hand raised*) and take advantage of any nice days to get a jump on any pesky weeds or to replenish mulch.
Bare-root trees and shrubs will become available towards the end of this month and if you can plant, you should, since they are often half the price of spring potted varieties.
Want my best vegetable gardening tips and techniques to keep it simple and manageable? (Yes, it CAN be done!)
Between this, dreaming, planning and buying our seeds, there's actually quite a few things you can do for your gardens on January's list!
Want this month's tasks in a convenient checklist form?
Grab this free printable by clicking the image below to open in a new window and then download, print, and add any of your own specific chores to the notes section:
Don't forget to add this page to your Gardening Notebook Journal!
PRO TIP: All the monthly garden chores checklists AND the garden journal are also available in the Subscriber VIP Library - subscribe to gain access to these and a lot more!
January Garden Chores
Vegetable & Fruit Garden
- Dream & draw up your garden plan for the new season! I love this part of January the best - here is how I plan and organize (which includes how to download the free Gardening Notebook).
- Check your vegetable and flower seeds and then order the seeds you need this month before things start selling out.
- Check your supplies, including seed-starting mix and organic fertilizers, and replenish as needed.
- Cover any root crops still in the ground with an extra layer of mulch in freezing weather.
- Remove yellowing leaves from winter brassicas - they are no use to the plant and may harbor pests and diseases.
- Start winter pruning of fruit trees, vines, and bushes - this is best done while they are dormant. (You may want to leave plum, cherry and apricot trees unpruned until the summer to protect against silver leaf infections.)
- Prune out old growth from blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackcurrant bushes, gooseberries and red currants if you haven't to maintain productivity.
- Shop online or locally for asparagus roots, strawberry plants, and fruit trees (all bare-root) to plant the end of the month.
- Near the end of the month is time to weed the asparagus and strawberry beds, cutting back as needed before feeding the plants and adding to the mulch.
- Remove old hellebore leaves as the new blooms emerge.
- Push back any plants that have "heaved" out of the ground because of freeze-thaw cycles.
- Rake heavy snow off shrubs as needed to minimize permanent damage.
- Cut back old foliage from ornamental grasses before growth begins - clip them to within a few inches of the ground.
- Cut down the old stems of perennial plants like sedum, yarrow, and daylily, being careful of any new growth.
- Remove faded flowers from winter pansies to prevent them setting seed.
Seed Starting Inside
- Check any leftover seeds and make a list of what you need before ordering, then order seeds and plants early to avoid substitution.
- Start seeds of pansies, dusty miller, begonias, snapdragons, delphiniums, and other hardy perennials indoors under lights.
- At month's end, start seeds of onions, leeks, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower indoors under lights.
You can find seed starting how-tos, tips and tricks in this series:
Other January Garden Chores
- Check the condition of your gardening equipment, especially soaker hoses and drip systems to order what you need before the spring rush.
- On mild days, remove winter weeds, such as wild onions and chickweed and top-dress lawns and garden beds with more compost.
- Keep an eye on fruits and vegetables in storage and remove any that are diseased.
- Stay off garden beds and lawns in general and keep to paths to maintain soil quality in the winter.
- Plant bare-root shade trees, as needed.
Make This Year's Garden A Success!