Your January Garden: Plan, Prepare, and Start to Plant

Lengthening days and slowly rising temperature call out for early planting. Thomas Jefferson advised sowing a thimble-full of lettuce every Monday from February to September. We like that advice, and extend it a few weeks in each direction to harvest weekly fresh salad year-long. So in mid-January, get started with sowing lettuce and bulb onions from seed under cover in the hoop house, or even in a bright, cozy south-facing window. But hold off on most other seeding until February!

If you didn’t get around to it last fall, you can still take samples and get a soil test to learn what you can do to build soil and adjust the pH for better yields in the coming year. Check with your knowledgeable, local extension master gardeners for where to source the kit. They are eager to help you succeed with your garden, and happy to provide detailed advice.  Look around your garden for bare areas – spread mulch to prevent soil erosion during heavy rains.  (This is also a good time to finish mulching blueberries and figs if you ran out of time in the fall!).

Ordering seeds and planning for planting are what January gardening is all about. Take time to look at your leftover seeds and see which are still good. Drawing maps can help match your space with your garden hopes and dreams. Enjoy the new varieties as you look through the pages of seed catalogs and prepare to plant.

Post by Ira Wallace, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange