Gardening Notes for January By Rutgers Gardens
January always begins with a big celebration, but soon we return to the reality of short days, cold temperatures, and the fact that our garden is still asleep. However, that is not such a bad thing, since we have the leisure of working in the Garden when time or weather suits our schedule. It is a time of little stress! Continue your journals. Low temperatures, snowfall amounts and sightings of visiting birds are points to be noted.
Things to do:
Plain your vegetable and annual gardens! As you begin to read those seed catalogues, keep your design handy so you do not buy more seed than is needed.
Reread your journal from the past year and note some of the major problems that can be resolved in 2010.
Take note of the winter bones of the garden. During the calm of winter, give thought to improvements that can be made in the hectic spring season to come.
Take care of your tools! Sharpen, clean, oil and otherwise repair saws and pruners. Sharpen the cutting edge of spades and lawnmower blades, repair the handles of shovels and wheelbarrows or any other tool placed on the ‘to be fixed’ pile.
Compose a list of tools to purchase that are beyond repair.
Start to evaluate pruning needs. Typically, most pruning is completed in February and March. January is the time to determine the amount of pruning, but there is certainly no harm in beginning structural work on small trees and shrubs. All rubbing or potentially rubbing branches should be removed as well as any necessary shaping. Suckers (vigorous shoots originating from the roots) and watersprouts (vigorous shoots originating from branches) can now be removed.
Cut some branches of winter blooming Witchhazels (Hamamelis hybrids), Winter Sweet (Chimonanthus praecox) and Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum), all of which should readily force indoors.
If there snow absent, cut back Hellebore Hybrids (Helleborus x hybridus) towards the end of January. A warm February they often promote the start of blooming and it is easier to remove the foliage when there are no buds present.
Check any potted plants that you have in a warm a garage or basement for watering needs. Keep them dry so they do not begin to push vigorous growth.
Repair fences! Perennials, vegetables, vines or other plants that resent foot traffic typically surround many fences and prevent access during the growing season.
Set up bird feeders.
Remove snow from hedges and tightly grown plants to prevent breakage.
Most important – pour yourself a cop of good tea or a glass of wine to celebrate your garden accomplishments in 2008. Personal accomplishments deserve a personal reward and no one knows those accomplishments better than you!
If there are any additional questions, please feel free to ask by submitting them to Rutgers Gardens (firstname.lastname@example.org
). Happy reading and pruning!