January 2017 Newsletter

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The New Year always brings renewed hope for the upcoming growing season. Gardeners pour over the latest seed catalogs, wishing that they could order all of them. They envision the largest, fertile, most productive garden that they have ever had. Yes, The New Year is a wonderful time for gardeners.

Planning the perfect garden takes time and effort, but it is well worth it when the garden begins producing. Take time now to look over the records you kept from last year and evaluate what worked and what didn’t. Since 2016 was full of extremes, with blazing heat and extreme drought, looking back just one year’s worth of records might not be enough for this year’s planning. Dig out your records from several past years and review what plants did well, and which didn’t. Start to narrow your wish list from the catalogs down to reasonable numbers, but always include a few new plants you’ve never tried before, too.

If you didn’t keep good records last year, one of your New Year’s resolutions should be to keep better records for this year. You don’t need anything too elaborate, even a notebook or ring binder will work. I use a program on my computer, and there are several garden planning sites online you might want to check out.

2017 is starting with fluctuactions in temperature and rainfall, giving us an uncertain start to the year. Unfortunately, gardeners can’t predict what will come during the growing season, but we’re ready to ‘dig right in’ and start our gardens NOW! It is so easy to get caught up in the excitement of starting the spring garden, especially on those warm days with record-setting temperatures, and gardeners should be cautious. February and March can bring extreme weather conditions, and it is heartbreaking to see plants freeze because we want to get a jump-start on the growing season. Keep this in mind when you see warm weather plants in the nurseries and garden centers, and try to resist buying plants that won’t survive the cold without extra protection.

If you can’t resist digging in the dirt and getting your hands dirty, there are several crops that can be planted in late January or February and early March. Some even do better in cold weather than later in the year. Check seed packets or catalogs for suitable plants for cold weather planting.

If you will be starting your own seeds for planting out later in the spring, check the seed packets for germination times, and count backwards to see when you need to start the seeds indoors. Plan on starting extras to bing to OOGA’s plant table as a fundraiser for OOGA.

I hope you enjoy the winter months’ slower pace with fewer garden chores, but get ready for the best gardening year ever!

It might be winter now…but Spring is just around the corner!

Garden Tasks for January

  • Look over the beautiful seed catalogs for your ‘wish list’ of seeds to order.
  • Some slow-seeds can be planted indoors now for planting outdoors in February and March.
  • Prune trees.
  • Prune grapevines.
  • Add more mulch to existing beds if you have it, and look for areas where weeds popped up last year and clean those up.
  • Add compost to your garden beds
  • Check garden equipment for signs of wear or to do regular maintenance, such as replace spark plugs, sharpen cutting edges, and clean and oil tools.
  • Come to OOGA on the 27th and bring a friend.

Check out our calendar page for upcoming events.

Do you have a meeting idea? Please contact Georgia to make suggestions for speakers in upcoming months.

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