Keeping Busy in January

Besides waiting for the spring thaw, there really isn’t a lot to do in the garden during cold January days. However, instead of just twiddling your thumbs waiting for warmer days, you can get a small but valuable head start on your upcoming planting season.


After a particularly thick layer of snow has fallen, go outside and gently brush snow off tree branches, shrubs, or hedges to stop the snow’s weight from damaging them. If supplies are on hand, pack the branches of less hardy plants with straw, and secure with burlap to protect them from the cold. You can also lay thick layer of dry mulch around plant roots to protect them from freezing conditions.


If the soil has thawed enough to be broken up with a shovel, it’s a good idea to turn it to reveal insect eggs and larvae for hungry birds to take care of.  If another cold snap arrives and refreezes the ground, the additional drop in temperature will also kill exposed pests. If you don’t take advantage of the cold and wait until spring is in full bloom, it may be too late to implement a good pest control strategy. 

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Again, it’s nowhere near as busy or as interesting as spring or summer activities, but it does put you in the mood for the upcoming planting season. Look forward to warmer days ahead!