January Garden Chores


Is it snowing?
Snow is called “the poor man’s fertilizer.” There is a small amount of atmospheric nitrogen and sulfur in the air and these chemicals become attached to the falling snowflakes. The nitrogen is released when this snow melts. Nitrogen is what causes leaves to be lush and green, and if ground is warm enough the nitrogen can get absorbed. More on how the Nitrogen cycle works, here.

making snowmen

making snowmen?

Check your weather: Weather.com

January is here, with eyes that keenly glow,
A frost-mailed warrior
striding a shadowy steed of snow.
-Edgar Fawcett


Using wood ash on your garden or in the compost pile? Here is some advice:
“Calcium is the most abundant element in wood ash and gives the ash properties that are similar to agricultural lime.

Ash is also a good source of potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and aluminum. In terms of commercial fertilizer, average wood ash would probably be about 0-1-3 (N-P-K).

In addition to these macronutrients, wood ash is also a good source of many micronutrients that are needed in trace amounts for adequate plant growth.

Wood ash contains few elements that pose environmental problems. Heavy metal concentrations are typically low and not in a highly extractable or available form.”
More tips on woodash use from the Weekend Gardener.

My Favorite Catalogs
White Flower Farm

White Flower Farm

Usually, I have been very pleased with orders from WWF. They have good combination offers.

Bluestone Perennials

Bluestone Perennials

Bluestone Perennials delivered fine plants at a reasonable cost.

See my page on rating the best catalogs and deciphering their information.

Link to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Heavy snow can be too much for evergreen branches – brush the snow off with a broom.

Remember to feed your bird friends.

Salt to melt snow harms plants, try to keep it from being spread into planted areas. After the snow melts, use your garden hose to flush the area around the roots. Consider using calcium chloride products instead of sodium chloride.

Check perennials after January thaws, they may have heaved out of the ground; heel them in with your foot or a tool. Mulch helps diminish this problem.

winter activity
I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape . . .Andrew Wyeth (1917- 2009 ) quoted by Richard Meryman in The Art of Andrew Wyeth, 1973

Now is a good time to plan the coming season, see if your garden has the “bones” of good structure, make your catalog lists, make a plan to follow… be an armchair gardener this month.

Many winter garden tips, and winter thoughts to enjoy.

“Plant carrots in January and you’ll never have to eat carrots. ~Author Unknown”

Recycle your discarded live Christmas tree: cut the branches and protect garden beds.

Check plants for rodent, rabbit and deer injury.


Plant Paperwhites. Buy 6 or more, and then plant 2 bulbs at a time, 2 weeks apart. Beautiful flowers during winter months.