spring garden flat lay with seeds in handmade envelopes, note book, labels and tools. Seeding vegetables and potherbs, planning and spring preparations

Gardening To-Do List: January Edition

Start Planning

During your downtime, you’ve probably replayed what went right last season and what needs some fine-tuning. Now is the time to start putting those thoughts into action and decide what you want to grow. Refer to the notes you made about veggies, flowers, trees, and shrubs. In addition to what to grow, have an idea of when your spring lawn maintenance should begin. Take inventory of your tools and equipment as well as supplies like fertilizers or string for your trimmer.

Start Seeding

Bust out those seed packets and see what needs to be started indoors. For best results, read the planting instructions such as planting depth, spacing, water, light, and transplanting. Timing is crucial so be sure to have a calendar at the ready to note important dates like how far out you should start your seeds, days to germination and harvest.
Midwest gardening prep

Force Branches for Winter Relief

Now may be a great time to head out and trim off a few branches to force indoors. Find branches with buds that have begun to swell and cut them at an angle using a sharp pair of pruners. Put them in a clean vessel filled with water and place in a bright, sunny location. Flowering plums, pears, and peaches as well as pussy willows and forsythia, make a lovely arrangement.
tips on how to prune

Clean out Empty Pots

Get your container collection organized and cleaned. Remove residual soil and debris with a soft brush and then give them a good rinse with water. Get rid of all the stubborn bits with steel wool or a knife. Soak and sanitize your pots for at least ten minutes using a diluted bleach and water mixture. (Use one part bleach to nine parts water) Make sure they are completely submerged during soaking. Rinse off your pots and allow them to air dry. If you have porous pots like terracotta, give them a second soak in water to ensure all the bleach is gone before air drying.
Planters for all seasons

Find Inspiration

Visiting botanical gardens in the winter can show the beauty of gardening from a different perspective. Many botanical gardens offer seasonal displays that highlight the joy of winter through showy flower heads, whimsical branches and bright berries. Attend a workshop or a class. There are many winter-centric projects to keep your mind and idle hands active during the cooler months like wreath making or winter pots for the front porch. Check online for course offerings through your local extension office or university. Many courses are often free too!

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