It’s January — a new month, a new year, and a time for new beginnings. Synonymous with resolutions to do better, January is rife with hope. Even when the garden may be dormant and bleak, there are many gardening chores — inside and out — that can be done this month.
Inventory seeds and supplies, making note of what you’ll need to replenish for spring.
Gardening catalogs should be trickling in. Place plant and seed orders soon, lest they run out of popular items. They’ll typically be shipped when the time is right.
Time to take down the Christmas tree. Recycle branches for mulch over garden beds. In spring, add to compost or chip into mulch.
Did you neglect to plant spring bulbs? As long as there isn’t snow cover and the soil is soft enough to dig into, you can do it now.
Mist houseplants every other day with room-temperature water, or run a humidifier.
Here’s a project for you: Soak seeds (alfalfa, barley, flax, etc.) in a cheesecloth-covered jar of water overnight. Strain, then rinse two to three times daily until sprouted. Add to salads and sandwiches.
Remove yellowing foliage from tropicals overwintering indoors.
Restock bird feeders and be sure to provide clean water.
Deadhead African violets and other flowering houseplants.
Keep houseplants away from heat sources, and rotate pots a quarter-turn daily to ensure even sunlight exposure.
If you’ve rooted cuttings in the fall and they’re growing leggy, pinch them back a bit and change the water.
Dust houseplant leaves so lenticels (tiny pores that allow gasses to reach plant tissue) can do their job.
Inspect stored bulbs and corms, and sprinkle with water if they appear dry. Discard any that have shriveled or rotted.
Inspect indoor plants for pests, taking care to check under leaves, where many prefer to live.
Prune broken tree and shrub branches so they don’t rip off in windy conditions and damage property or injure people.
If you neglected to store clay pots indoors and they’ve cracked, don’t discard them. Break them up and use them to aid soil drainage in spring.
If ornamental grasses look unkempt, cut them back. Waiting until March is fine, too.
Replenish deer and rodent repellents.
Easily eradicate mealy bugs from houseplants by touching them with an alcohol-soaked cotton swab.
Repot indoor plants, but don’t fertilize until next month.
When blooms are faded, deadhead forced amaryllis, but discard paperwhites.
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