Although there is not much outdoor gardening to do outside this month, January is one of my favourite months as a farmer and gardener. It is a month I am filled with so much hope and excitement. It is the month I let myself dream big and then determine which dreams I can realistically achieve this year. I can get carried away with this dreaming but I allow it because it brings me joy and makes me happy in these dark cold months. I have finally come to enjoy the seasonality of the year in Canada as it provides the necessary time to slow down, reflect, and make plans for the upcoming season. These are things that I have done for many years as a gardener before I started my business farming flower so I hope you find this helpful.
- This is a great time of year to clean up your seed starting racks and other gardening supplies if you have not already. I end up using my racks for storage once I am done starting seeds inside and it is impressive how much junk accumulates on them. So unfortunately this is a bigger task than I would like but it feels incredible once complete.
- When you are cleaning up and organizing take the time to disinfect, clean, and sharpen any garden tools you used the previous year. This way when spring comes you are completely ready to get out in the garden. This also goes for any seed starting trays or packs you never got around to cleaning/disinfecting at the end of the season. Somehow I am always guilty for missing a few of those. Don't forget to disinfect the domes as well, one year I missed those and I am pretty sure it was responsible for passing on some fungus that causes dampening off.
- Set goals! January seems to be a popular month for this activity. It is inspiring to take a look at your previous season and decide what you would like to achieve in the coming season. Don't forget to set yourself up for success and make SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound). Sometimes my goals are as simple as growing a specific variety which will involve doing some research on to ensure success, luffa gourds are an example for me this year!
- This is the time of year I like to draw out a map of my garden and farm field to break down what I want to grow and where. This is a great resource to keep and reference to rotate your crops each year. If it was just up to me to remember that information would be long gone! This usually takes up quite a few pieces of paper to find what will work best for the upcoming season.
- Once you know how much space you can give each crop based on your goals and your map you can figure out how many seeds you need to start to fill the space! This information is key to make sure you plant enough to have a full garden. Keep in mind succession planting will give you the advantage for the longest most productive season possible.
- Ideally you do this in November/December before you order the bulk of your seeds. But better late than never! This is a great time to sit down with your seed stash and take inventory of what you have and what you need to order more of. I am old school and love to write things down. I created a sheet I print off and place in my garden binder. It includes sections to fill out the variety, number of seeds, the source, and a column to note if I need to order more. This helps me stay on budget for the year and only order the seeds I need for the upcoming season!
I am sharing a of the PDF to help you in this process. Scroll down to download your copy today!
- Start the seeds that need a long time to grow. In my zone 5b garden in January I start Lisianthus, Eucalyptus, Pansies, Geraniums (for the hanging baskets I create), and Delphiniums. I am sprouting ranunculus and anemones, starting foxglove. I am planning to use the protection of the greenhouse and my low hoop structures to get these out earlier.
- Pretty much everyone's least favourite word in the English language. But to make sure you're actually saving money with your home garden produce or making a profit with your farm this is essential. Sit down and make a list of what you need vs what you want and go from there. Its hard work keeping to it sometimes but I promise you it is worth it.
These are just a few things to keep my January busy with gardening activities. The count down is on for spring and I cannot wait for what this season will bring! I hope you have your best season yet! Do not forget to download your free copy to keep track of your seed inventory!