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Report From PIA – January 9

When hosting GardenLine on Saturday mornings, I usually surf the web during commercial and news breaks. Sometimes I’m looking for plants (a hortaholic’s habit) and occasionally I’m searching for interesting tidbits to share with my listeners.

Today I googled January Gardening Tips, and as you might imagine, the lists for cold climates were pretty short. Most said pretty much the same thing: plan next year’s garden, order seeds, and clean your tools. Does anyone really clean tools in January? Do most folks clean tools at all? I’ll admit that mine are in the garden shed, and whether they’re clean or dirty, I wouldn’t know.

Some lists advise gardeners to fully appreciate just how dismal their landscapes are, so that come spring they can plant something that will look better next winter. This is cleverly phrased as “planning for future winter interest.”

None of the usual tips are very interesting, it seems to me, so I’ve decided to write my own. For better or worse, my suggestions for the month are:

1.  Make a list of all the things you don’t get to in the spring, summer and fall, because you’re too busy in the garden. If you don’t want to do them in the winter either, burn the list in the woodstove, and go into the kitchen to make a nice, hot soup.

2.  Go through your garden photographs. These will help you to recall the varieties you’ve planted over the years that didn’t survive in the garden or your memory.

3.  Make a list of all of the plants that have died in your garden over the years, and use this as justification to order more this season. You have to replace them, right?

4.  Remind yourself that if this were the growing season, you’d be out weeding at 5:30 PM, instead of enjoying a cocktail while watching the stars come out from the warmth of your home.

5.  Go through the plant catalogs and pretend that the company will give you one free plant from every page.

6.  Invite some fellow gardeners over, and ask everyone to bring last year’s leftover seeds and a good bottle of wine. Ignore the seeds and drink the wine.

7.  Read about someone else’s gardening experiences. The two books on my night table right now are, The Garden of Invention by Jane S. Smith and Our Life In Gardens, by Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd.

8.  Scheme about ways to grow fresh lettuce in February. I’m going to fill crates with 8 inches of soil, put them in my seed-starting shed, and plant salad greens on Valentines day. This is the problem with growing your own vegetables…winter store-bought isn’t good enough.

9.  Go to someplace warm, and visit other people’s gardens.

Perhaps the dormant season means that we don't have to be doing anything in the garden?

Perhaps the dormant season means that we don't have to be doing anything in the garden?

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