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Gardening in January

If you are a gardener, you might think January is just for dreaming about what’s to come in a few short months. Well, I do, too.

But, there is also tons of work to do.

I generally dream during the first seven to 10 days of beautiful flowers, well-mulched beds and the scents of my best garden plans. Then, it hits me — I have to do some work to be sure my dreams come true.

By doing just a few things each week, you’ll be ready for spring and ahead of schedule. You will outshine all the other gardeners in your neighborhood.

But to be fair — you should talk to your friends and help each other out. Maybe it is doing an order together to save money on seeds or plants. Maybe it is searching for and finding a local youth to help with garden chores. Whatever you do — dream big and act on those garden ideas for 2022!

To help you get started, I’ve made a list of things that need done in my garden to be ready when spring arrives.

WRITE AND PLAN

• Start your garden journal now. You might want to include garden plans or a wish list. Better yet, blog!

• Sketch out your vegetable garden, remember to rotate crops into different areas.

• Check saved seeds. Test for germination. Share seeds with neighbors and trade for seeds you need.

• Order seeds for new varieties. Make an order with at least two friends to save money and get more seeds.

• Do some research on a new plant that you have been wanting to try.

• Plan a new flower or herb bed.

WINTER CARE

• Feed and provide water for the birds.

• Avoid walking on ‘crunchy’ grass.

• Check on and cut back geraniums you are overwintering.

• Check stored bulbs, tubers and corms. Toss any that are moldy or wilted.

• Check garden perennials. If any have heaved, gently push them down. Add mulch if you have it.

CLEAN AND PREP

• Clean garden tools and pots. Sharpen garden tools. Tune up garden power tools.

• Paint handles of garden tools a bright color.

• Clean salty clay pots. Soak in vinegar to remove salt, rinse and let dry. Then soak in a one-to-nine dilution of bleach to water.

FUN

• Make some homemade suet ball or coat a pinecone in peanut butter and roll in bird seed. Bird watching is great this time of year.

• Force narcissus and hyacinth bulbs. Force spring blooming shrubs / trees in February.

• Purchase herb plants and keep on the windowsill.

• Replenish needed garden supplies. Go shopping at garden centers. You may find some great off season deals. Check favorite online sites, too.

• Work on garden “art” projects. There are tons of ideas to make something beautiful. Plan and work with friends.

Now there’s a list that should keep you busy and help you stay in the gardening frame of mind.

For some more inspiration, visit: http://go.osu.edu/wintertasks.

McKinley is an Ohio State University Mahoning County Extension Master Gardener volunteer.

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