The January Gardener Blues

Gardening in January

January can be a slow and cold month. Many people find this time of year to be dreary, but what we find is it is a great month to start planning ahead to get over those gray day blues. Seed catalogs are showing up in the mail, so why not start daydreaming about the months ahead!

In Oregon, we are blessed to have access to the OSU Extension office. They are always a wonderful resource for information if you are looking for what crops would be good to start planting now!

Order Seeds

The first thing that we recommend is drawing out your garden on a piece of paper. Create a diagram! This tip will save you time and money in the long run!

The Last Frost

As tempting as it is to get your seeds in the ground. It is important to wait until the last frost of the year. This date will vary by your location and can vary a bit year to year. Figuring out this date is the most important thing you can do during January.  Everything you want to do in the spring and summer will depend on it!

Crops to Start in January

You will want to start most of your seed indoors. In general, you will be planting the cold loving crops that take a long time to grow, but that you can move outside later in the season.

Vegetables and Herbs To Start in January

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Parsley
  • Onions
  • Shallots
  • Chives
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Marjoram
  • Cilantro

The last frost date for our area in the Umpqua Valley in Oregon is May 15th. So if you are from a different area, double check your frost dates and adjust the planting schedule accordingly. These crops can be planted in the ground once it is warm, but if you are looking at more frost in your area covering your crops would be recommended.

Chores

Soil preparation is a hugely important part of any garden. January is a great time to work with your dirt. As long as it isn’t frozen, this is a great time to start turning it. This will expose insect eggs and larvae for the birds to take care of.

If you are rearranging the structure of your garden or building new beds, January is a perfect time to work on it!

Fertilizing

Seedlings that are started indoors don’t really need a lot of fertilizing. When they grow a few inches, they can benefit from a diluted application of fish emulsion, or another organic fertilizer.

Compost

Turn to your compost pile! Then turn it again and maybe one more time for good measure. Begin adding the composted organic material to your beds!

So, if you are feeling down and wish you could get started in the garden now, fret not. You can! Just bundle up and get to work!

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