Have you set your 2024 new year’s gardening resolution?! January is time to get moving and set yourself up for big success this spring and beyond. Beds need prepping, veggie seeds need starting, citrus trees need feeding, and YES you can get a head start on planting too! Here are our top must-do’s (and don’t do’s!) this month.
Check out our January Garden Guide for more tips and remember that trees, shrubs, and perennials can be planted 12 months out of the year! The only difference is the amount of water they need depending on temperatures and wind!
1. Plan and Prep Beds for Spring Planting
January is our month to plan and prep for spring. Clean up, remove weeds, and most importantly, prep your garden beds by adding some compost! We love Nature’s Blend Compost for veggie and landscape beds, including raised beds. A good ratio is 1 bag per 12 sq. ft. of bed space. If you make your own compost, that approximate ratio works well. It doesn’t have to be exact. If working out is part of your new year’s resolution, get outside, grab your garden forks or a shovel, and turn some compost into the first few inches of soil!
2. Feed Your Citrus Trees
Fertilize your citrus trees in January for more blooms, again in May/June for better fruit set, and again in September/October for nutrients. We recommend fertilizing with Espoma Citrus-Tone – all organic and highly effective. Remember to fertilize trees, including citrus, at the drip line. That means spread fertilizer in a circle where the rain naturally drips down from the leaves, not right up against the trunk.
3. Wait to Prune!
Remember – wait to do any major pruning of most plants until February! We can be tempted to want to do too much pruning in January, but you don’t want plants to think its time to start putting on new growth since we still may have another cold snap. Even if we do get a cold snap that damages some foliage, wait to prune because that damaged foliage will help insulate against more possible cold weather.
Ornamental grasses, like Pink Muhly or Purple Fountain grass, are a January exception. They should be cut back this month. Trim them straight across (no cupcakes) 3”-4“ from the ground. Use a bungee cord or piece of rope to gather them up, then cut straight across with your shears.
4. Start Veggie Seeds!
January is time to start tomatoes, kale, chard, onions, carrots, beets, parsley and more from seed. We carry seed-starting trays, peat pots, and Espoma Organic Seed Starter soil for starting seeds indoors or on a protected/covered patio. A good rule of thumb is that once the seedlings have made their first true set of leaves, they are ready to be transplanted into a larger container outside or directly into the garden bed.
Check out our full Spring planting guide here. And stay tuned because we’re planning all kinds of cool events for 2024, including a seed starting workshop this month!
5. Grow Potatoes and Onions!
January is prime time to plant potatoes and onions! We carry Red La Soda and Yukon Gold potatoes because they are better suited for South Texas growing conditions than larger varieties. Watch Matt’s video guide to planting potatoes here!
Plant onions in a row every 3-4″ then thin them by plucking every other green top as they grow. This will allow the onions to grow to full size. Keep in mind that both potatoes and onions need well-drained soil. Great for raised beds!
6. Adjust Lighting and Water for Houseplants
Generally, most houseplants will need more light and less water this month. A moisture meter will come in handy to be sure you’re not overwatering. Experiment with moving houseplants to sunnier windows, and take them outside for a sunny day or 2. Keep their leaves clean to help them take up sunlight and prevent bad bugs. We like using a very light solution of Neem oil + water to wipe down leaves here at Gill’s.
7. Yes, You Can Plant It in January!
Why wait?? Trees, shrubs, and blooming perennials planted now will build healthy root systems during their winter dormancy making for stronger, healthier plants in spring and summer. Not to mention all kinds of cool season flowers and veggies that love our January weather. Keep an eye on the forecast, but remember that new plants are easy to cover with frost blankets if we get a cold spell.