Garden Guide: Things to Do This Month


By Mary Jane Frogge, Extension Associate in Lancaster County

January is a good time to order flower and vegetable seeds. Many varieties sell out early.

To prolong bloom, protect poinsettias from drafts and keep them moderately moist.

Turn and prune house plants regularly to keep them shapely. Pinch back new growth to promote bushy plants.

Check all house plants closely for insect infestations. Quarantine gift plants until you determine they are not harboring any pests.

Time to review your vegetable garden plans. Perhaps a smaller garden with fewer weeds and insects will give you more produce.

Avoid heavy traffic on the frozen, dormant lawn. The crown of the plant may be severely damaged or killed.

Brush snow from evergreens as soon as possible after a storm. Use a broom in an upward, sweeping motion. Serious damage may be caused by heavy snow or ice accumulating on the branches.

Add garden record keeping to the list of New Year’s resolutions. Make a note of which flower and vegetable varieties do best and which do poorly in your garden.

Use sand instead of salt for icy spots on the sidewalk.

Feed the birds regularly and see that they have water. Birds like suet, fruit, nuts and bread crumbs as well as bird seed.

Check young trees and shrubs for rodent or rabbit damage. Prevent injury with fencing or protective collars.

When reviewing your garden catalogs for new vegetable varieties to try, an important consideration is improved insect and/or disease resistance.

Analyze last year’s planting, fertilizing and spraying records. Make notes to reorder successful varieties as well as those you wish to try again.

Check stored fruits and vegetables such as potatoes and apples for bad spots which may lead to decay.