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  • Writer's pictureThe Collected Seed

January garden chores

Welcome to 2020!

Before I get started talking about what I'll be doing in January, I need to send out a big THANK YOU to my Facebook followers. I set a goal of having 50 followers by 2020 and with your help, I passed that goal. You can follow me on Facebook here, if you're not already.


Speaking on meeting goals, a lot of January "gardening" is actually things we'll do to set ourselves up for success in the coming year. I've spent the last week of 2019 getting this website ready for growth and prosperity in the coming year, and I'll devote much of my time this month to doing the same for my gardens.

I also want to help my readers be successful and an important part of that is keeping track of your garden. I'm setting up digital templates for many of the files I use personally and am making them available in my newly launched Etsy store.

Now, I know gardeners are by nature frugal people, which is why I'm also offering you a coupon. If you sign up for my email list (see the Login/Signup button at the top of the page), I'll email you a coupon for 50% off the Grow List template and a free download of the calendar shown at the top of this page. The coupon is good until Jan 31.

Finally, here's my list of January Garden Chores.

January Garden Chores

Create a grow list - We all want to grow all the things and far more than we really have space for, but I start by listing everything I want to grow. Then I do a pass over the list and delete anything that was an impulse addition. Then I mark how many plants I have room for before determining if I need to order seeds.

Inventory seeds - It isn't necessary to buy new seeds every year, the only thing that happens when seeds are stored properly is that the germination rate tends to decrease. However, I've only barely noticed this and it was on seeds that were a few years old, not seeds only a year or two old. It is a good idea to check dates on the seed packet and to check how many seeds are left.

Seeds vs plants debate - I call it a debate, but it's internal. Some things can be difficult to start from seed or just take an incredibly long time. Sometimes I want to try growing a plant just to try it and see how it performs in my garden before committing to it. In these cases, I'll often opt to purchase those as live plants from a local nursery. I learned the hard way to make sure I'm planning to purchase common varieties to ensure the nursery has them.

Spring cleaning - Don't balk! In January, most of us have the "Get organized, efficient and reduce clutter" bug so I take advantage and use the energy to channel projects that will see far less important when the sun is shining and it's warm outside. Get it done now so Spring can be spent in the garden or in the glow of seed starting shelves.

Clean garden storage areas - This sort of falls under Spring cleaning but for me this needs to wait until it's a little warmer because my storage area is in my un-insulated garage. It stays pretty chilly, especially when the concrete floor hasn't warmed up yet, so I save this for that fluke spring-like Saturday we inevitably have in January. You know, the one that torments you and makes you think Spring will happen soon, when it's really still weeks away. This is a good "gardening" task that still keeps me in check.

Caring for or replacing tools - Most garden tools could use a good cleaning at the very least but some could use tightened screws, repaired welds or other maintenance. Anything I can't do myself, I make arrangements to have done, unless it's going to be cheaper to replace the tool. Which also gets to my next point - replace the stuff that limped through the last gardening season. Don't forget to sharpen shovels. You can find tutorial videos on YouTube if you're not sure how to do that.

There are many other things that gardeners can be doing in January, for example, I'm replacing my grow light shelves this year and will be setting those up and testing things late this month. That's not really something anyone with operational shelves needs to worry about so I haven't included it on this list. What are you doing in January to get ready for planting cool season crops and seed starting? Leave me a comment at the bottom.

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