Lets Get Gardening: January 2019

Boy, did we have a serious case of weather whiplash between November and December! November was one of the coldest on record around here, and then area had approximately 10 inches less of snow than normal in December, and was above average in temps. And have you been listening to the reports for the next few weeks? “They” are saying that we should be enjoying this trend of warmer than usual temperatures and no accumulating snow through at least the middle of the month here in Southeast Michigan. I am not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, it was great that I was able to plant my garlic so late (December 16th!), since I just hadn’t had the time until then. However, the lack of real cold means that there are pests and diseases that might survive the winter, making gardening even more challenging this spring. Of course, just because the averages are expected to be milder doesn’t mean we won’t get some real winter weather around here at some point. It is Michigan, after all.


In this month’s issue of Let’s Get Gardening

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter for seasonal gardening advice and recommendations for your garden, yard, and bird feeding. In this month’s issue:

January is mostly about making plans for the upcoming gardening season, though there are a few other things you can also be doing now, both inside and out – depending on the weather:



  • Curl up with some hot cocoa and go through the seed catalogs that have already started to arrive. Now is a good time to begin to think about what you want to plant this year. What did well in your garden last year? What didn’t do so well? Do you want to plant the same things again, or try something new?
  • While you’re thinking about how your garden produced last season, also think about what issues you had with pests and disease, and what you might want to do to prevent those issues this year.



  • With the continued warmer-than-usual temps, you might still be able to get some mulch on flower beds that you didn’t quite finish up before the cold of November hit.
  • If the ground isn’t totally frozen, you may also still be able to get some bulbs in – I just planted some more crocus and allium in one of my beds, and can’t wait for them to come up in the spring!
  • Just as with your vegetable garden, start planning now for your flower beds. Are there areas that could use new (more) plants? Are there plants that need to be divided and replanted elsewhere?
  • Another thing to think about for your flower beds is how they look right now. Does your garden have any winter interest, or is it all about spring and summer?

Trees & Shrubs:

    • If you have evergreens that aren’t looking so good, they may be suffering from disease or pests. Colorado Blue Spruce are in serious distress all over Michigan due to a number of issues. I planted 25 of them on my property 20 years ago, to act as a wind break.
  • If you need to replace old trees or just want to plant new ones, now is a good time to think about what you might want to plant. Think about whether the trees you had were in the right place, or if you might need to try something else there.


Indoor Plants:

  • With outdoor gardening not something we can usually do much of in January, it’s a great time for taking care of indoor plants, which may have been a bit neglected while we were busy outdoors. Make sure they are getting as much sun as possible now.
  • Give your indoor plants some humidity, too.
  • For most indoor plants, this should be a time when they don’t need fertilizer, or need less. There are some plants, such as African violets, that bloom all year round, so need regular fertilization all year.


  • I never get tired of watching the birds in my yard! Keeping them coming is as easy as supplying them with food and water. Keeping your feeders filled in the winter provides the birds a reliable source of food, and provides you lots of entertainment.

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