January in the Garden

January 3rd, 2009 by david laferney Leave a reply »
One of the first harbingers of Spring is the first glimpse of crocuses, and daffodils peaking through.  But, in January?

One of the first harbingers of Spring is a glimpse of crocuses or daffodils peeking through. But in January?

So far in middle TN we haven’t really had very much cold weather yet, and we’ve had highs in the upper 60s several times in the last couple of weeks – thus the daffodils peeking through the mulch.  Actually they weren’t really peeking through – I uncovered them by accident while grubbing out chick weed yesterday – New Years Day.  Anyway, they’ll be fine – I covered them back after taking that picture.  BTW fear not, although it might be a bit early those bulbs will be fine.  Just sprinkle a bit of loose mulch over them if you must – or not.

Speaking of chickweed, it’s edible and tastes like spinach (the chicken of plants) and it grows wonderfully everywhere around here – good weed?  From early December through Spring chickweed is the one healthy looking green plant that is actively growing around here – if allowed to grow it will form a low dense mat in any decent soil it can find here in middle TN.  I wonder why I’m going to so much trouble to grow spinach and lettuce?

Chickweed is edible and grows everywhere apparently.

Chickweed is edible and grows everywhere apparently.

So, what to do in the garden in January? Any day now, we might have snow or other foul weather and the options will greatly diminish, but in decent weather it pays to hoe out chickweed and other winter weeds while their roots are still shallow and tender.  The outdoor activity is greatly welcome to me.

I have a few salad greens still happily growing in my cold frame, and being the optimist that I am I even planted a few more yesterday.  In all likelyhood they will be slow to come up, which is fine.

I’ve  also planted a couple of 4 inch pots full of basil to be pricked out when they come up – those are inside staying warm until I see signs of life, and then they will immediately go under the lights in the plant room.  You can do this with any number of herbs and ornamentals right now as long as you’re prepared to hold them in a warm sunny window (or under lights) as you pot them up and wait for spring.

I received my first seed catalog in the mail – From Johnny’s Selected Seeds – and I’m starting to compile a wish list.  I’ll probably place my main seed order before the end of this month so there isn’t really all that much time left.  I know for sure that on or about February 15 I want to be ready to plant spinach outside in the garden, and one month later It will be time to plant sugar snap peas – even if it snows.  In that same time period it will be time to get serious about planting just about everything that starts out indoors.  Seriously, by the time Lowe’s has those seeds on the shelf it will already be too late to get a good start here in zone 6b.  Important lesson – they sell that stuff when they think we will be in the mood to buy, and it has nothing to do with when it should be planted.

I also ordered a box of honey bees yesterday (to be delivered when the weather warms up) but I’ll save that story for another day.


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