January - What's in Kate's Garden?


In My Garden (Zone 5-6)

Kate Copsey
Kate has relocated many times giving her experience in gardening from sandy upstate New York to Georgia clay and many areas between. She currently gardens in Central New Jersey. Kate also hosts the popular radio show “America’s Home Grown Veggies” heard every Saturday on America’s Wb Radio.

The holiday season is full of colorful reds and greens but by the time January hits I am looking forward to a fresh start. The greens and decorations are cleared away and the days are getting longer even though it might not seem like it!

Last month I talked about the little bowl of salad that I had sown in late September. That is still producing well and we are harvesting lettuce most days. I has been joined in the sunroom by two containers of peas and a rosemary plant that is wintering over there. I left one rosemary outside to see if that will survive but have one for backup if it doesn’t and of course it is handy to clip for casseroles and winter meals. The peas will probably be harvested as greens rather than waiting for the pods to mature. Next year I plan on saving a packet of snow peas for these containers.

The lettuce bowl is still producing

The peas are growing

As January starts, the winter season has been rather dreary but mild – some areas nearby got snow but on the coastal areas it was still warm enough for rain. Taking a walk around the garden showed me that there are many buds on the rhododendrons that are getting ready to open in March or April and there are buds on the witch hazels, Star Magnolia and the new little camellias too. The witch hazels open very early in the year and depending on how January weather goes some may even flower before the end of the month. We have lots of evergreens and conifers but yellow is a rare treat in the middle of winter. The Star Magnolia and camellias will be later but still before many of the traditional spring blooms.

The buds on the rhododendrons

The cold frames also have some seedlings slowly emerging. I sowed cold tolerant lettuce and kales in there last October and left a few mature lettuce plants in there too. All are doing well though not growing very fast. By the time March comes around these will be ready to harvest – I hope.

January can be a very blah month so having a few things showing buds swelling gives just a little dose of fun in an otherwise dormant garden.




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Gardening Tip of the Day

  • Many novice gardeners make the mistake of sowing long carrots in a heavy clay soil resulting in forked, malformed roots. The trick to growing carrots is selecting varieties best suited for your garden’s particular soil conditions. The long, slender carrots require a soil so deep, smooth, and friable that only a lucky few can grow them successfully year after year.

    Unless you’ve prepared a soil that’s light, loose, and free of all obstructions, select shorter varieties of carrots like ‘Nantes Half Long’, ‘Sweet Treat Hybrid’, ‘Sweet Sunshine’, and ‘Red Cored Chantenay’. If your soil is extremely heavy, try ‘Short ‘n Sweet’, which can grow in just about any soil. These are the best carrots for the patio garden as they can be planted in window boxes or any container at least six inches deep.