January can be a tough month for some people. Here in New England it’s cold, snowy, and icy one day and the next its in the 50s, rainy and grey. The sun shows up once in a while, faking us out from time to time making us feel it should be warmer than it actually is.
In order to help
beat the winter doldrums, on crummy you-want-to-stay-in-bed-days, I love
pouring over the seed & plant catalogs, dreaming and planning what
this year’s garden should contain. We will be sure to get our orders in
by the months end as the general rule of thumb, “You snooze, you lose”
applies to ordering seeds and starts. On the nicer days, I take the time
to get outside, walk the backyard and scope the areas where bushes,
trees and shrubs may need some pruning; check the garden beds for the
crops that were planted in the fall and have been overwintering like
garlic and carrots.
Last fall we installed one of our new products
to our backyard garden, the lawn slowly giving way to more and more
raised beds. It’s an 8’ x 12’ deer-fenced Maine Kitchen Gardens,
65 square feet of new growing space to plant this spring! The new
growing space will make crop rotating much easier for us going forward.
I’m so glad we installed it when we did so there will be no reason to
get it all planted up once the time comes.
is the perfect time to plan and install a new garden. After all, spring
is only 61 days away. Many people make the classic mistake of waiting
until April or May and by the time they get everything all said and done
(if they do it at all) they have missed an important part of the
growing season – early spring. Cold crops love just that – the cool
temperatures of early spring when it’s between 40º F and 70º F. If it
gets too warm, the cold crops bolt and go to seed.
There are a few
cold crops in particular which you can directly sow outdoors since
their seeds germinate in soil temps as low as 40º F. Peas germination
and growing temp ranges between 40ºF-70ºF. Arugula & Lettuce enjoy
germination and growing temps between 40ºF-60ºF and potatoes germinate
at 45ºF. If you see your daffodils in bloom, start planting your
potatoes in the garden! At the end of this January, early February we
will start a few seedlings indoor, for the other cold crops that need
higher temperatures to germinate, like strawberries, spinach, Swiss
chard and onions.
In New England, regardless if there is snow on
the ground St. Patty’s day is the time to plant our peas outside and it
will be here in the blink of an eye. That’s why the planning stage in
January is so important despite the possible snow that could be in your
yard right now. It can be hard for some to envision which is why we try
to help people as much as possible in getting their gardens up and
running; so people can enjoy growing their own.