A Gardener's Year,  Gardening

A Gardener’s Year – What To Do in January

What does a gardener’s monthly tasks look like? Sometimes it’s helpful to know what other gardeners are doing to plan out your own gardening activities. Sometime you need the reminder, and sometimes you need the push to get things done! This blog post series is exactly that – an overview of monthly gardening tasks to give you ideas and incentive for getting into your own garden!

The January Garden

January is a slow month for the actual task of gardening. It’s cold and gross outside. Almost everything is hibernating or dead. There’s not a lot of growing going on besides waiting for the overwintered vegetables to start getting bigger once the days get a bit longer.

All of that makes January the PERFECT time for planning though! Here’s what I have going on in January.

Seed Catalogs

January is when the seed catalogs start rolling in. I love getting pages and pages of beautiful flowers and vegetables in the seed catalogs. It’s such a treat to sit with a cup of coffee or tea and flip through all the gorgeous seed choices for the coming year. I love trying new varieties of vegetables to see if there’s something new we love eating, and I’m always excited by all the beautiful cutting garden flowers. The seed catalogs are by far my favorite part of the planning process!

Seed Packet Review

I also make a point to go through all my old seed packets. I don’t have a lot of space to garden, so I rarely plant all the seeds from a seed packet. If there are seed packets that are more than 2 years old, I usually toss those since the germination rates on older seeds isn’t very good. I’ll get rid of the vegetable seeds that we didn’t like very well or that didn’t grow very well in our zone.

After that, I’ll inventory what I’ve got left and take note of the gaps. I just went through my seeds this past weekend and I’ve got a TON left – over 50 flower varieties and almost 40 vegetables! Even with all those seed packets left over, there are still some gaps in what I’d like to plant, and I’d like to expand and add some entirely new veggies too, so I’ve still got some to buy.

Check My Space

After I’ve gone through my seeds, I look at my available gardening space so I can make a plan for what I’ll grow. I count how many containers I’ll use, take an inventory of how much open garden bed space I’ve already got, and calculate how much space I’m going to add to my garden this year. Once I’ve checked all the gardening places and spaces, I add those up to get a total amount of space for planting.

Choose What to Plant

After I know how much space I’ve got, I decide what seeds I’m going to plant. This part usually takes the longest amount of time because I want to grow EVERYTHING! It’s soooooo hard to narrow down my seed choices, but it helps to have my space availability to know how much of everything I can plant. I think about what we like to eat, how much we eat, what we need for our natural medicine cabinet, and what I like to grow just for beauty, and then I make a list of those items. I check my list against my seed packet inventory, and then jot down where I need to fill in the gaps.

Order Seeds

January is when I order my seeds for the year. Once I’ve made my garden plan, I order all the seeds I’ll need for the entire year so that I’ve got everything handy and ready to go when it’s planting time. Some of my favorite seed suppliers include Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Burpee Seeds, and Harris Seeds.

Clean Up the Garden

I also take a little bit of time to clean up my garden in January. It’s usually taken a bit of a beating by this point and is covered with random leaves and twigs from the neighbors’ trees. I don’t use leaf mold on my garden beds, so I rake up the fallen leaves and twigs, clean out the containers, and make sure all my pathways and bed edgings are in good shape for the coming planting season.

Is there anything else you do in January for your garden? I’d love to hear what you add to your list! Let me know in the comments below, and don’t forget to download your January reminder printable for what to do in the garden this month.

Download your January Printable here.

All the best,


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