While most of us are recovering from the Holiday Season and packing away our decorations, avid gardeners know that January is the time to start thinking about getting started with the home garden. Just when the mailman thinks his load will become lighter, garden catalogs are being delivered across the nation. These catalogs start nudging and tempting us gardeners even as we look out still frosty windows while dreaming of spring.
The most enjoyable garden activity this month is ordering seeds. You may want to take the time now to draw out your garden plan on paper. This will ensure you order the correct amount of seed for each variety you plan to grow. Pre-planning is one of the best garden tips you could follow, not only saving you time, but money as well. Luckily the influx of seed catalogs should give you plenty of options. Make sure to order early for the best selections and delivery times. If you are looking for something special or for ideas, there are plenty of sites online. Once you order from these companies, they will send catalogs or make sure to get on their mailing list while visiting their site. A few seed companies are strictly online, such as “Renee’s Garden,” a favorite of mine. (www.reneesgarden.com)
Some things to think about
Determine your last frost date- WNY is Zone 5 which means last Frost date is May 15th. Next, decide whether you are going to direct sow your seed into the garden or start seed indoors for later transplanting to the garden. You will want to buy seed and plant indoors if you choose to plant varieties that nurseries do not carry, such as certain heirloom vegetable or flower varieties. In this case you will be counting back, usually 6 weeks, from the last frost date. Seed packets will have such instructions to help you make these determinations. This becomes important in regard to Harvest dates of vegetables. Otherwise, if you don’t mind waiting for your flowers to bloom, direct sowing is your option.
Since I have limited space indoors and lighting can also be an investment for growing indoors, I opt to create a very small makeshift greenhouse outside my door in the middle of April for any plants I decide to start slightly ahead of time. Lettuce and peas are always plants that can start outdoors before the last frost date. January is the time to order these seeds.
Take advantage online as well as through catalogs with the wealth of information and garden tips these companies share. Be sure to look for 2015’s new varieties. Oh the joy of Garden Catalog time!