Your January and February gardening to-do list

If you’re looking for a healthy way to start your year, get outside! To help motivate you, here’s a gardening to-do list to keep you busy in January and February.

January and February are supposed to be the quietest times of the year for gardeners. But if you’re keen, you still want to get out there and enjoy yourself. There must be something you can do. 

Of course, if snow is piling up on the ground, you don’t have a lot of options. But if the weather is mild in your part of the world, there’s work to be done to ensure the spring is a success. 

The nice thing about gardening in January and February is that it tends to be the quietest part of the year. You don’t have to queue for hours in garden centers, awaiting service. You just waltz right in, grab the things you need, and walk out. It’s a totally different experience. 

Getting started on your garden in January and February gets a lot of jobs out of the way to make the spring a success. Starting early puts your garden in a state that’s ready for the coming seasons. 

So, with that said, what should you be doing in the dreariest months at the start of the year? Here’s your to-do list. 

Get your plants ready for growth

The soil in your area may be depleted. Therefore, plants may struggle to grow how you would like. 

To remedy this, ensure you have plenty of well-rotted compost at your disposal you can dig into the ground. Also, check the nutrient composition of your soil. Certain plants will not grow unless they have access to the nutrition they need. 

Sprinkling some fertilizer on the topsoil can also help a great deal. It gives plants a strong start to the year and encourages more vigorous growth going forward. 

Prune your roses

You should prune your roses in the fall months to encourage their growth the following year. However, if you forget to do that, January and February are a great time to get the job done. 

When you prune roses, always cut just above the bud. The bud is where the new season’s growth will begin, meaning that pruning is making room for it. 

Roses have a habit of growing in the wrong way. Therefore, always prune as low to the ground as you can. Doing this will encourage the plant to develop a full crown of rose flowers instead of a cluster at the top. 

Plant your hedges

Believe it or not, January and February is a good time to plant hedges. The cheapest option is bare-root plants. You’ll pay significantly more for pot-grown varieties. Vendors dig these up from the ground, avoiding the need for watering and potting costs. 

Whether you can access bare root plants is weather-dependent. However, they should be available in February or, failing that, March. 

Planting hedges early in the year gives them more opportunities to grow and bloom in the spring and summer months. This way, they can get a foothold before the following winter sets in and causes damage. 

Prepare your fruits and vegetables

January and February are famously thin on produce. However, there are many things you can do to enhance the crop for the year. 

  1. You can start planting some of the hardier vegetables in your beds, such as carrots, early peas, beetroot, and broad beans. These plants can survive low temperatures and even frosts. Just make sure they have a bit of protection on the ground. 
  2. You can also sow some of the more tender vegetables under cover. Peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes are all plantable this time of the year. 
  3. Dwarf vegetables also tend to fare well when planted early in the year. Their smaller size makes them hardier and something you can start earlier. 
  4. Autumn-fruiting raspberries need cutting back in the early months of the year. Once the fruit is gone, cutting them back will encourage them to grow back stronger and better the following season. You’ll find that cutting in the middle of winter is the most stressful for the plant. But this can actually be a good thing by encouraging it to become more prodigious in the following season. 
  5. You shouldn’t plant potatoes and onions in the middle of winter. However, they will be ready for sowing by late March. Therefore, place orders for these vegetables if you want a crop later in the year. 

You should prepare your vegetable garden soil, too. Leaving it in rough chunks gives time for the weather to break it down before you start sowing. Don’t feel the urge to dig it up too much like a farmer as that can increase run-off and harm nutrient composition. 

Net fruit and vegetable crops

Pigeons and other birds will peck at leaves, stalks, and seeds early in the year to supplement their diets. Lilacs, brassicas, and peas are at particularly high risk. 

Therefore, it’s a good idea to net these plants and protect them from wildlife. Pigeons will often tear off leaves and cause you to lose most of the foliage. 

Netting and fruit cages are the best options because they avoid trapping or injuring birds and other animals. You can also use scaring devices and repellent substances, but these aren’t as effective. 

Larger plants should be okay after pigeon damage, but smaller plants and saplings will struggle to thrive. Always protect them. 

Tidy your borders

Borders can wind up looking quite disheveled after a long fall and winter. That’s why it’s a good idea to give them a bit of a makeover, removing any unwanted growth. Cut everything back so that it’s ready for the following season’s growth. 

At the same time, you might want to take the opportunity to deadhead spent flowers. Lavender bushes can get pretty thick if you don’t cut them back in the winter and make room for new growth. 

You can also take the opportunity to remove any obvious weeds that might compete with plants for resources over the coming year. 

Organize your shed

The shed can get pretty hectic during the spring and summer months. Therefore, it’s wise to spend some time sorting it out come the winter months. Organizing it properly helps you to get on top of things before the arrival of the new year.

Start by recycling anything you don’t need anymore. Remove debris and give the interior a thorough clean. Look for any guttering leaks, or sign the shed requires repairs. 

You might also consider giving the shed a lick of paint if it’s warm enough. Painting it early in the season will protect it over the summer months and prevent the wood from rotting away. 

Clean up your outdoor areas

You might not be able to enjoy Delta 9 THC gummies while watching the sunset on a warm evening in the winter, but the time will come when that happens. And when it does, you want your outdoor spaces to be ready for it. That’s why it’s such a good idea to clean your outdoor areas and prepare them for warmer weather. 

Specifically, make sure everything is clean and tidy and safely under canvas. Put cold-sensitive items in the shed or garage and keep them safe until winter. Make sure you avoid leaving out anything sensitive to frost as the cold weather may damage it significantly. 

Plant cold-weather plants

Planting cold-weather plant helps to give your garden a bit of life and color in the winter season which can be dire. After a deep frost or snowy period, even the grass can look gray. 

Good options include winter violas, hellebores, and euphorbia. Planting hanging baskets is another option.

Take care of the lawn

After fall, leaves can accumulate on the grass and impede its growth the following year. Therefore, make sure you rake them all up and compost them. 

You don’t usually need to mow your grass in the winter. However, you can if it starts to look a little long. Just don’t scalp it as this can prevent it from growing back properly the following spring. 

Naturally, avoid mowing the lawn if the grass is super short or frozen. Also, don’t mow it if it is too soft. The action of the mower blade could damage it and rip grass from the soil. 

Sweep and clean the patio

You’ll be too busy planting and pruning in the spring to worry about the patio, so sweeping it in January and February is a good policy. Remove any leaves, mud or debris caught between tiles or paving slabs.

You might also want to consider pressure washing your patio if it is made of a suitable material. The force of the water will help to return the underlying stone to its original color, removing all the ingrained dirt. 

Clean your paths

Lastly, consider cleaning your paths while there isn’t much else to do. Sweep up fallen leaves from your driveways as these can make them slippery. Ensure plants aren’t intruding on the areas where you want to walk. 

Paths that look old and worn can be refreshed by laying new gravel or stones. Again, this is a great job for the winter, as long as the weather isn’t sub-zero. 

Photo by Jonathan Kemper