Sandi Marr, DHS Reporting Secretary
What do gardeners do in January? With the hustle and bustle of Christmas behind us, we begin a new year filled with hopes and dreams.
There is no denying, every gardener is eager for spring to arrive. But winter is our season of waiting, a necessary time in the circle of life, before the season of birthing. In case you thought there was nothing to do, here are a few ways to “garden in January.”
Old Christmas trees can be recycled outdoors as a feeding station for birds by adding suet and other treats to their boughs. Greens may also be mulched for garden perennials.
Remove spent flowers on amaryllis. Set the plant in a bright sunny window to allow the leaves to fully develop. Keep the soil evenly moist and fertilize occasionally.
Choose sand, bird seed, sawdust or vermiculite to place on icy paths. Avoid salt or ice melters which may injure plants.
Begin planning your summer gardens. Create a small map of your garden and use it as a guide for ordering plants and seeds from the catalogs soon arriving in the mail.
Get your garden tools ready for spring. Sharpen and oil tools such as shovels, shears, and mowers. Power tools such as weed eaters and power mowers may benefit from a good tune-up.
Care for your clay pots. Clean them by soaking them overnight in a solution consisting of one gallon water and one cup of white vinegar. Sanitize with a solution of water and household bleach.
Don’t forget about caring for your houseplants. Clean them with a damp cloth or a quick shower under the tap. Dust on the foliage can clog the leaf pores. Always use room temperature water and fertilize with a solution of half strength plant fertilizer. Provide sufficient humidity by setting plants on a tray filled with moistened, clean pebbles, or by simply setting a cup of water nearby.
Fireplace ashes can be saved as a fertilizer for your iris, roses, and lilacs in spring. Do not apply to acid-loving plants. Excess ashes may also be sprinkled on your lawn.
Finally, if you aren’t already one of the over 200 members of the Dunnville Horticultural Society (DHS) from 2015, consider coming out to a monthly meeting and better yet, joining. You will find us to be a friendly group of novice and experienced gardeners. We gather at the Dunnville Optimist Hall every third Thursday of the month 7-9 p.m. We are a group of gardeners from 5 years to 85 years of age and all life stages. Our monthly programs include a motivating speaker, updates on what DHS is up to in Dunnville, repurposed door “prizes” and best of all, yummy snacks. On the agenda for January 21 is a Question and Answer time with our own master gardeners: Marlene Link, Beth Powell, Doris Thompson and Lester “MacGyver” Fretz.
You won’t want to miss this!
Hmmm … and you thought there was nothing to do in the garden this month …
Sandi Marr, DHS Reporting Secretary.
Sandi welcomes your questions and ideas for future gardening columns.