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Article 7

January To Do List

This is definitely the quietest time of the year for gardeners. However, there are still a few things you can do
  • Spend some time going over the seed and plant catalogues you ordered in
  • December and order your seeds
  • If your seeds arrive before the end of January you can sow them.
  • Plant fruit trees
  • Plant trees, shrubs and vines as long as the ground isn't frozen.
  • Plant perennials.
  • Apply dormant spray to fruit trees.
  • Draw up a plan of your garden and mark on it any changes you would like to make, either plant wise or with your hardscaping.
  • Make a list of plants you would like this year. You can pre-order with The Natural Gardener if you like.
  • Make sure that any leaves or broken branches are off the lawn.
9 Seed Starting Tips

Keep records to allow for better planning. Well-kept records will enable you to understand better what plants sprouted best and under what conditions. This will be very helpful for the next years seed planting.

Store your seeds properly. Storing your seeds properly before you plant them will keep their viability high. Keep your seeds in a cool, dark location with low humidity. Refrigerators are perfect for this. Place the seed packets in a zip lock bag and put in the refrigerator. Don't forget to put the date you put them in the fridge on the bag.

Tamp seeds down to make direct contact with the soil. After sprinkling the seeds on the soil, use a kitchen sieve to lightly cover the seeds with seed starting mix. Very small seeds and seeds that require light to germinate should just be left on top of the soil. Regardless of how they have been planted all seeds need to be in firm contact with the soil. Using a pestle or bottom of a glass, gently but firmly tamp down the surface.

Prevent disease by providing air flow and drainage. Damping off, a fungal infection, is usually caused by too much moisture and poor air circulation. After tamping down your seeds spread a thin layer of starter chicken grit (found at pet stores) over the surface. This will keep the new seedlings dry. Use a small fan set on low to blow across the soil.

Cover seedling trays or containers with plastic to keep the moisture level constant. Some seeds need to be covered with a plastic dome while germinating. This helps maintain a constant moisture level and means you don't have to disturb the seeds while they are sprouting. As soon as they begin to sprout remove the cover and set up the fan.

Keep your seeds warm to encourage germination. Most seeds require temperatures of between 65 to 75 F to germinate. You can either place your seed trays or pots on top of an existing heater (now you know why your Mom put her seeds on top of the refrigerator) or you can use a special plant heating pad.

Turn your seedlings daily to keep their stems strong. Your newly sprouted seeds require about 12 to 16 hours of light a day. Place them in a sunny window and turn them a quarter turn each day. Also brush the tops of the seedlings gently with the palm of your hand to encourage strong stem growth.

Feed them well. Once your seedlings develop their first true leaves you need to fertilize them. Once a week fertilize at half strength with an organic liquid fertilizer.

Acclimate seedlings to direct sunlight. You need to harden off your seedlings before planting them outdoors. On the first day put them out in the sun in the morning only. The next day leave them out a couple of hours more and repeat the next couple of days until they are outside all day.

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› A Checklist of Things To Do in the November Garden
› Poinsettia Care in the Home
› Fall Clean-up
› Fall Planting of Trees, Shrubs and Perennials
› Planting Perennials
› A Checklist of Things To Do in the December Garden
› January To Do List
› Fall Planting
› Growing Aloe Plants
› Pruning your Clematis
› Hedges
› Growing Jade Plants
› Planting and Growing Bulbs
› Pleione Formosana
› Caring for Sarracenia - North American Pitcher Plants
› Caring for the Venus Fly Trap - Dionaea muscipula
› Growing Winter Heather
and many more
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