January Garden Chores For 2013

Ilona Erwin

January arrived with the steep drop in temperatures that I had come to expect from a lifetime in Ohio. What wasn’t normal was the second highest amount of snowfall in December history for this area of the country. Unexpected, but welcome.

Not only did I get a chance to cross-country ski a bit, but my garden plants had the blanket of snow cover that keeps them out of harm’s way (desiccating winds and heaving frozen ground). If your garden does not have snow cover, give it a periodic check to heel in heaving plants, and if temperatures cooperate, apply mulch.

Snowcover also tells of visiting animals. I noticed the rabbits paying regular visits to my flower border areas. Cute little cottontails are known by their prolific reproduction, but it is their damaging behavior in the garden that concerns me. I once lost a hefty stand of Siberian iris to a rabbit family (later found by our cats- a story best left untold).

Cottontail Rabbit Information culled from Wisconsin University-Madison: Rabbits damage woody plants in winter, gnawing bark and clipping off branches, stems, and buds of even large, mature woody plants. They can girdle mature trees and shrubs.They prefer to eat the rose family, including apples, raspberries, and blackberries. Cherries, plum, dogwoods, mqples, oaks, and willows can also find themselves targets of hungry rabbits.
Rabbits may be controlled by trapping or using repellents. You can try fencing and wrapping trees, some can try to use hardware wire to wrap vulnerable tree trunks. You can’t poison them- it is illegal and dangerous to humans and unwary pets.

January is prime planning time.

This is when we get our catalogs, sit down with our journals or notebooks and decide on what seeds to by, which perennials to add, and whether we would like a new tree or two. For many a gardener, this is a most enjoyable undertaking. If you intend to order seeds and plants, it is a necessary task to get those orders out before the mad rush of spring.

Are you planning on a Cutting Garden this year? Many of the prime sources for cut flowers are annuals, so check through your seed catalogs for the varieties you most would like to have in this year’s garden.
Many of the types of flowers you could easily grow from seed may not be available for purchase simply because more nurseries and plant centers have reduced their offerings due to economical belt tightening. There is no need to do without your favorite zinnias, or cosmos if you order them by catalog, now.

A few recommended seed sources – If you order from them you will not only be happy with high quality seed, but help support my site, as well. Thank you.

Trees and Plants

With snow comes the warnings that salt spray will damage, and possibily kill you plants; the same goes for spreading salt on icy walks. Remove snow as quickly and as completely as you can with a shovel and consider plant safe de-icers. Perhaps try Keep It Green KIG8 Snow & Ice Melter

Remember how damaging salt can be to plants, you can also use a substitute of sand or kitty litter as an alternative if you don’t wish to use the melter product.

  • Keeping evergreens clear of heavy snow? I simply use an everyday kitchen broom to knock the snow off.

Christmas Plants

Keep your gift plants healthy, although I personally wouldn’t bother with Poinsettias. Others may be worth your time and attention, though.

Favorite Christmas Plants
windowsill Herbs
Indoor Bulb Plants

Garden Tips for January:
Christmas Gardening
January Garden Chores

Winter Garden

Garden Plans

Yes, I did finally finish that resource page on Garden Pathways. It would be a good time to give some thought to the hardscape of the garden, now that you can easily see the garden bones.

Take care with snow removal and icy sidewalks. A tip I picked up from fellow garden bloggers was to get some “YakTrax”, easy slip-on traction for shoes. I think my husband needs a pair: he slipped twice this past December

Paths In The Garden

Paths and Fountains
Garden Wit and Wisdom

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Ilona Erwin, author

Meet the Author

Ilona Erwin

I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of Ilona's Reflecting Pool. Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.