This post will detail January Garden Tasks for a 4-season kitchen garden. It also has details about my FREE garden task list download in the Seasonal Living Resource Library.
January Garden Tasks |Organize, Inventory, Clean, Repair, Prepare
January resolutions aren’t just for the gym. They’re the perfect starting point for your January Garden Tasks! Let’s take advantage of the clean slate and fresh start the darkest weeks of winter offer our garden to plan our work for the coming year. Then, we can work our seasonal and yearly plans month-by-month to create and maintain the kitchen garden of our dreams!
January Garden Tasks | Evaluating and Planning
The Kitchen Garden Planner and Journal is an eBook designed to help you plan and track your efforts to grow the best vegetables, fruits, and flowers possible. Written by Lorrie Schoettler and Designed by Bob Shelley, this eBook will teach you how to design, track, budget, and record your garden spaces and activities season by season, and month by month.
The eBook comes with lifetime access to printable worksheets for tracking everything from plant varieties to soil amendments, pest management strategies to seed starting schedules.
January Garden Tasks | Inventory, Organize, and Clean
Organization is central to your January Garden Tasks.
What do you have? Organize your supplies.
We’re not growing seedlings yet, and chances are your indoor growing and storage areas are showing the strain of last year’s growing season. Use the dark days of January to clean, inventory, and organize your supplies and tools.
Using your garden journal, make a list of the soil amendments and pest management supplies you have. Do the same with seeds, and other supplies. Later, you can use these lists to create your need/wish lists for garden supplies you will need this spring and beyond.
Supplies I like to keep track of include:
Organic pest management supplies
Vermiculite and perlite
Trellising materials like twine and verticle supports
4-season garden materials like remay and UV plastic
Trimming twine for the weed whacker
These are the items that catch me up short and can cause an unplanned run to the hardware store. I hate that.
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Getting Ready for Seed Starting
If you start your own seeds, which I highly recommend, it’s time to prepare for this winter ritual that kicks off the gardening season. Clean your workspace and grow area. Check lights and heat pads. As mentioned above, inventory the seeds you have remaining from last year. You’ll also want to inventory your seed starting supplies like pots, labels, trays, and seed blocks.
Using the seed starting schedule in the Seasonal Living Resource Library, and the list of seeds you have on hand, create your seed purchasing list. You’ll want to order the seeds you need to get you through April by the end of January.
Be sure to join the Super Duper Seed Swap and share your saved seed treasures with other gardenrs across the United States. Click here to learn more.
So Many Downloads in the Resource Library!
Be sure to log into the Seasonal Living Resource Library to download the January Garden Check List and the Seed Starting Schedules. These 2 resources will help you get the most out of January. Too often gardeners suffer through January, wishing and longing for those joyful days where hands are submerged in the warm moist soil. That’s too bad, because there’s so much to be done in January, things you won’t have time for once the growing season starts. Use the tools I’ve created to help you get organized and be productive this January for the good of your garden.
Making Your Own Potting Soil
January is also the perfect time to make your own potting soil. Sadly, the current organic soil mixes are mystery concoctions. You simply don’t know what’s in the mix, even when it is certified organic. Admittedly, making your own potting soil is a lot of work. My seed starting trials pitting my own mix against certified organic mixes available at the local hardware store show my own mix grows seeds at twice the rate.
I store my soil mix in a plastic bin and 5-gallon buckets with lids. It’s good to keep it mildly moist. I also choose bins that are the right size for my strength. Do not one huge bin, if you can, but rather several smaller ones. 5-gallon buckets with lids are a great option.
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Clean and Organize Garden Tools
Use January to clean and organize your garden tools. The process is easy. Simply wash them, dry them, and rub down with WD40. Some tools need to be sharpened, like stirrup hoes, and I use a file for this work. Pruners and lobbers need to be sharpened as well. This requires a special tool. Finally, wooden handles should be oiled. I use a cheap olive oil.
I love this job!
By winter, my tools look like they’ve been through a war. Dirty, battered, and jumbled together, they look like I feel. Taking the time to carefully clean, repair, and organize my tools feels like I am thanking them. There is nothing more satisfying to my eye than an organized tool shed!
Step-by-Step Garden Tool cleaning Process
- Wash the tool. I fill a 5-gallon bucket with water and soak my tools. I then scrub away caked on mud with a crub brush.
- Spray the metal areas of the tool with WD-40 and scrub in with steel wool. When the metal areas are scrubbed clean, wipe off excess oil with an old rag.
- Wipe clean wooden areas and make sure they are dry. Pour your oil on a clean rag and wipe onto the wood. Olden wooden tools that have weather damage may need 2 applications of oil.
- Organize and store for easy access during the growing season.
While working on your tools, check out this post on my 12 Must-Have Garden Tools. It will help you plan and budget. I purchase 1 new tool a year. This year, a broad fork in on my wish list. What’s the one tool that would lighten your load in the garden that you dream about? Tell me in the comments section.
January Garden Tasks | End of the Month Garden Tour
If you are not under several inches or feet of snow at the end of January, please set aside time for a thorough tour of your gardens. During warmer years, you might find spring bulbs breaking ground. It is a good time of year to find where critters are hiding in your gardens and make plans to remedy the situation. The winter-clean landscape can help you see damage to raised beds and other structures in the garden. It’s also a good time to inspect fruit trees and plan your winter pruning.
When you come in a warm up after your tour, take some time to draw your gardens as they are. Then, you can use these baseline drawings to plan expansions and additions. This is a very fun activity!
You can also use those drawing to review any crop rotation plans you have for vegetables. These are plans that rotate vegetables around your garden beds in a way that assists soil health and pest management strategies. This link is to a cooperative extensions explanation of the process.
The January Garden
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