January is the one month when a gardener can sit back and do some of the most important work: planning. Most of mid-Missouri is in USDA zone 5b with climate change making spring and fall seasons longer and shortening summers and winters.
- Order your favorite gardening catalogs with detailed plant descriptions and good photographs. My favorite is Missouri Wildflowers Nursery Native Plants catalog with a quick guide on what growing conditions plants require, www.mowildflowers.net.
- Some seed companies will send free catalogs if you ordered from them before; others will charge for a catalog if you are a new customers. Plant seeds locally-adapted, one source is Baker Creek, www.rareseeds.com.
- Review garden diary entries from last year. Update entries. Underline items you wanted to get done this year.
- Focus on adding native plants. Once established they will be low care and tend to require less water than other plants.
- Whether it’s Missouri Gardener Magazine, which provides good local gardening information and gardening books, catch up on what you couldn’t get to last year.
- Water mums planted this past year. Once established, mums will become perennials and deter bugs from around where they are planted.
- Remove broken limbs in pathways to keep walkways clear and safe.
- Pile mulch and leaves on garden beds if they’ve been blown off by winter winds.
- Check inside plants for any hitchhiking bugs and remove. Make sure they are getting their sunlight needs met. If not, move them. Water with diluted fertilizer. Prune as necessary.
- Drop your garden pruners and other garden tools off to get sharpened.
- When feeding birds, add a little sand in the birdfeeder mix. Also, ensure they have an available water source. Feed suet on cold days.
- If you have fish in an outside pond, make sure it has a hole in the ice so fish will get oxygen.
Charlotte Ekker Wiggins is a gardener, beekeeper, and sometimes cook. For more, visit gardeningcharlotte.com. Published by Kaleidoscope Weekly with permission. Copyright, 2018, all rights reserved. This column may not be copied, published, reprinted, rewritten, or redistributed. Contact Charlotte at email@example.com.