Your garden is almost at a standstill this month. It seems that winter veggies take a loooong time to grow! We look forward to every leaf of lettuce and spinach, every broccoli florette, every kohlrabi and cabbage, every cauliflower head. We’re either glad we planted so much in the fall or regretting that we didn’t!
Aside from transplanting or adding more plant “starts” (many local nurseries still have a supply of winter veggies), most gardening activity is limited to pruning and spreading soil amendments. Too much digging is not a good idea, since the soil retains a good deal of water: disturbing it too much will compact it and destroy its tilth.
Some seeds will sprout outdoors, given a little time, including beets, chard, kale, leeks, bibb and iceberg lettuces, peas, radishes, carrots, and savoy spinaches.
January is a good month to send away for seed catalogs. On cold days it’s nice to dream about warmer days and plan your spring garden!
Frost continues to be likely on dry, windless, clear nights. Plants are less susceptible to frost damage when they have been sufficiently watered—keep soil barely moist. Keep frost-protection coverings, especially those made of plastic sheeting, away from the foliage, or the foliage will more readily freeze. Frost “hoops” used with lightweight cloth are a great way to protect your plants from freezing.
Soil amendments applied to the soil surface now will decay over the winter, and their nutrients will wash into the soil gradually with each rain. Which amendments your soil needs can be determined best by a soil test. Healthy plant root growth and overall plant vigor depends on a moist and loose soil.
Keep your garden tidy. Keep leaves and litter raked up. Unwanted pests and critters can hide in a messy garden.
Irrigation for Winter Months
Be sure to adjust your water timer accordingly for winter watering. Watering in the mid-morning for 5-7 minutes every other day is sufficient.
All water timers must be covered to avoid breaking during a freeze. The best preventive measure is to cover your timer, the red water valve and the PVC pipes in your plot. We have had numerous pipes break this season due to the extremely low morning temperatures and also due to being left uncovered in the elements.
If you need help with any of these things, send us an email and we will be glad to help you out!