Garden Tasks in January

The New Year has arrived, and that means the annual arrival of seed catalogs.  I like to call them my “wish book.”  With their arrival begins the initial garden tasks in January!  Although planting is at least two months away there are several tasks to start now to prepare for gardening season.

My introduction to gardening happened as a child helping Maimie, my grandmother, pick and shell butterbeans as well as purple hull peas.  Do you have a favorite gardening memory?  I would love to hear about it in the comments below!

How to Start Gardening in January

With careful planning, you can take the steps to improve your family’s food supply for months!  Even if you’re new to gardening, start learning all you can about growing food.  You can start right here with our, “Food Security Series.”

January Garden Tasks:

  1. Garden Plan
  2. Buy Seeds
  3. Garden Tool Care
  4. Gather Gardening Supplies
  5. Start Seeds


Garden Planning

The first step in garden planning is deciding what to plant.

Some variables to consider include:

  • what you like to eat
  • plants that grow well in your area
  • space needed for each plant.  For example, you would need a large area for certain squash varieties.  Consider planting a variety that requires less growing area.
  • days to harvest.  Colder climates have shorter growing seasons.  In this case, choose varieties with a quick harvest date.  Although, you can gain some time by starting seeds indoors.

seed case

Writing out a plan of where each plant should be planted is also a good idea.  For further information about planting check out “Interplanting a Garden.”

Buying Seeds

There are tons of choices for buying seeds.  I prefer heirloom seeds.  Heirloom seeds have been passed down for generations.  They can be saved and will come back true to type.  Hybrid seeds, on the other hand, cannot be saved.  Also, heirloom is NON-GMO (GMO-genetically modified organism.)  There are questions by some of the health risks GMO’s may pose.

A few great online seed companies:  baker creek seeds, Sow True SeedsMIGardener, and Seeds for Generations.

Garden Tool Care

If you’ve had gardening tools for a while or bought them second hand, there are a couple of maintenance tasks.  Sharpen any digging tools, if needed.  Make sure the handle is secured properly to the actual tool.

Gather Gardening Supplies

We’ve been gardening for years and have never used a tractor or garden tiller.  The tools we have found most handy:  a shovel, trowel and a potato fork.

Our first year of gardening, the area was a grassy yard.  We dug a row with the shovel, flipping the grass upside down.  Seeds were sown into that dirt.  Depending on the health of your soil, you may need to bring in compost or topsoil.

Other items that may be needed to garden in January:  cell trays, starter mix and label tags.  The cell trays can be substituted with eggshells if you’re not starting a lot of seeds.

recycled eggshells as seed starter cells with a bowl of seed starter mix

Start Seeds

To determine which seeds to start in January, begin by checking the back of your seed packet.  This will tell you how many weeks to start indoors before your last freeze date.

I’ve written a detailed post about starting seeds.  You can check it out below.

Steps to starting seeds can be found here.

The hustle to accomplish everything in spring can be challenging.  Starting garden tasks in January can save time when spring arrives.  Hopefully, this list of tasks helps you put your best foot forward come garden season.  Happy planting!



Leave a Reply