Your Jan­uary day-by-day cal­en­dar of gar­den­ing chores

The Wichita Eagle - - Home & Garden - BY JES­SICA DAMI­ANO

It’s Jan­uary – a new month, a new year, and a time for new be­gin­nings. Syn­ony­mous with res­o­lu­tions to do bet­ter, Jan­uary is rife with hope, as is the gar­den, even when it’s dor­mant, bleak and frozen over. I sup­pose that, too, par­al­lels life, as even when we’re at our low­est, there is hope for a new and bet­ter to­mor­row.

So this month, while we’re re­solv­ing to diet or quit smok­ing or sim­ply be bet­ter peo­ple, let’s ac­knowl­edge that our hu­man con­di­tion holds all the prom­ise of an un­planted seed or a dor­mant rose bush. Happy New Year, ev­ery­one, with best wishes for a boun­ti­ful and beau­ti­ful har­vest – in the gar­den and out.

1. To­day is a day for fresh starts. Plan to start some­thing new this year, like a com­post pile. Get in­struc­tions for that and other how-tos at news­­den­ing101. 2. If you re­ceived gift plants for the hol­i­days, quar­an­tine them in a sep­a­rate room for two weeks to en­sure they aren’t har­bor­ing pests that could spread to other house­plants.

3. In­ven­tory seeds and sup­plies, mak­ing note of what you’ll need to re­plen­ish for spring.

4. Gar­den­ing cat­a­logs should be trick­ling in. Place plant and seed or­ders soon, lest they run out of pop­u­lar items. They’ll typ­i­cally be shipped when the time is right.

5. Ap­ply anti-des­ic­cants to ev­er­greens, es­pe­cially the re­cently planted, to pro­tect against de­hy­dra­tion – but only when temps are warmer than 40 de­grees.

6. It’s the Epiphany: Time to take down the Christ­mas tree. Re­cy­cle branches for mulch over gar­den beds. In spring, add to com­post or chip into mulch.

7. Did you ne­glect to plant spring bulbs? As long as there isn’t snow cover and the soil is soft enough to dig into, you can do it now.

8. Mist house­plants ev­ery other day with room-tem­per­a­ture water, or run a hu­mid­i­fier.

9. Here’s a pro­ject for you: Soak seeds (al­falfa, bar­ley, flax, etc.) in a cheese­cloth-cov­ered jar of water overnight. Strain, then rinse two to three times daily un­til sprouted. Add to sal­ads and sand­wiches.

10. Re­move yel­low­ing fo­liage from trop­i­cals over­win­ter­ing in­doors.

11. Keep off frozen or muddy turf. Win­ter foot traf­fic can in­jure grass blades and – worse – dam­age soil struc­ture, which is very dif­fi­cult to re­verse.

12. Re­stock bird feed­ers and be sure to pro­vide clean water.

13. If you planted ev­er­greens last year, pro­tect them with burlap to avoid wind and snow dam­age.

14. Dead­head African vi­o­lets and other flow­er­ing house­plants.

15. Keep house­plants away from heat sources, and ro­tate pots a quar­ter­turn daily to en­sure even sun­light ex­po­sure.

16. Check tree branches for gypsy moth egg cases – gray blobs that re­sem­ble used chew­ing gum. If found, re­move, de­stroy and dis­card in the trash.

17. If you’ve rooted cut­tings in the fall and they’re grow­ing leggy, pinch them back a bit and change the water.

18. Dust house­plant leaves so lenticels (tiny pores that al­low gasses to reach plant tis­sue) can do their job.

19. In­spect stored bulbs and corms, and sprin­kle with water if they ap­pear dry. Dis­card any that have shriv­eled or rot­ted.

20. Gen­tly poke a hole through frozen fish ponds to re­lease gasses, or hold a pot­ful of steam­ing water over ice to melt an open­ing in the sur­face.

21. In­spect in­door plants for pests, tak­ing care to check un­der leaves, where many pre­fer to live.

22. Prune bro­ken tree and shrub branches so they don’t rip off in windy con­di­tions and dam­age prop­erty or in­jure peo­ple.

23. If you ne­glected to store clay pots in­doors and they’ve cracked, don’t dis­card them. Break them up and use them to aid soil drainage in spring.

24. When shov­el­ing snow, pile it onto peren­nial beds as long as you haven’t salted. It’ll add ex­tra, igloo-like in­su­la­tion.

25. Check bog plants over­win­ter­ing in­doors and dis­card those that are rot­ting.

26. If or­na­men­tal grasses look un­kempt, cut them back. Or wait un­til March.

27. Re­plen­ish deer and ro­dent re­pel­lents.

28. Af­ter snow­fall, gen­tly brush snow from ever­green branches – es­pe­cially ar­borvi­taes and Ley­land cy­presses – with a broom to pre­vent buck­ling and crack­ing.

29. Erad­i­cate mealy bugs from house­plants by touch­ing them with an al­co­hol-soaked cot­ton swab.

30. Re­pot in­door plants, but don’t fer­til­ize un­til next month.

31. When blooms are faded, dead­head forced amaryl­lis, but dis­card pa­per­whites.

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