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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Gardening To-Do-List for January and February

January (yes, it's a little late):
  • Make a garden plan. Plan the garden to include various vitamin groups, and space. And patience!
  • If you've had a garden before, consider planting a few new varieties along with the old favorites. Especially concentrate on heirloom seeds so you can save seeds in the Fall for next year's garden.
  • Plan the amount of each vegetable to be planted, including enough to can and freeze. Rule of thumb is to allow about 1/10 acre of garden space for each member of the family. If you don't have that much space, just do what you can.
  • Buy enough quality (heirloom) seed for two or three plantings to lengthen the season of production. Especially carrots, radishes, and lettuce.
  • Take soil samples if you have not already done so, and take them to your county extension office for analysis.
  • Apply manure or compost and plow it under if you did not do this in the fall.
  • Apply lime, sulfur and fertilizer according to the soil-test results and vegetable requirements. Buy 100 pounds of fertilizer for each 1/10 acre to be planted (if manure is not available, buy at least half again more). Use 5-10-10 or 6-12-12 analysis, depending on soil test and vegetable requirements.
  • Get plant beds or seed boxes ready for growing plants such as tomato, pepper and eggplant. Have beds ready for planting in February.
  • Check on your compost pile and make sure it is ready for use in the spring.
  • Get copies of gardening publications for your area.


  • Start seeds (using jiffy pellets, peat pots, etc.). Peppers and eggplants will take eight weeks to grow from seed to transplant size, while tomatoes will take six weeks. When the seedlings form their third set of true leaves, transplant them to individual containers. Best to transplant directly to peat pots so when you put them into the ground or raised beds, there will be very little root disturbance.
  • Prepare land for planting. Make sure you've put together raised beds (with wood, old plastic kiddie pools, etc.. It's especially good for Winter and early Spring plantings to be in raised beds because the soil will warm up faster, and have better drainage.
  • If nematodes were a problem last year, make plans to plant another crop less susceptible to nematodes in the infected area. Actually, rotating crops is something you absolutely need to do!
  • Make early plantings of your choice from the following: carrots, collards, lettuce, mustard, English peas, Irish potatoes, radishes, spinach and turnips. If you have a protected area, or cold frame, these can go directly into the ground.
  • Use "starter" fertilizer solution around transplanted crops such as cabbage.
  • Replenish the mulch on strawberries. Remember, Winter isn't over yet.
  • Start peat pots, etc. for herbs, to be ready for planting in April. Make a list of the ones that are best to buy rather than seed, such as French tarragon and rosemary.

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