January 2019 Tips and Tasks

— Written By and last updated by Kate Holt


January is the perfect time to begin a garden journal. Include tasks and information like copies of your garden plan, soil test results, varieties grown, fertilizers used, weather conditions, successes and challenges.

Keep an eye out for fungus gnats, mealybugs, aphids, and white flies. Make sure you get problem pests accurately identified before applying pesticides. If plants are pale and spindly, they may need more light. Provide supplemental lighting with grow lights for 10-12 hours a day or move to a moderately lit window.

The best way to control fungus gnats in houseplants is to modify the habitat to remove their breeding grounds. Fungus gnats require moist, organic soil so be careful to avoid overwatering your plants. The surface of the soil should dry out to the touch and the container should feel light for its size before watering. Do not allow any water to stand in saucers or decorative outer pots. Avoid using incompletely composted organic matter in potting soil and remove dropped leaves, flowers and other plant debris as they fall on the surface of the potting mix.


  • Plan beds for spring planting and order seeds. Cut back ornamental grasses in late January or early February before new growth begins. Stack cut grass loosely in the compost pile or along the edge of the wood line to allow pollinators and other beneficial insects that might be in them to emerge later in the season. Rake up and compost fallen blossoms from camellia bushes to discourage petal blight.
  • Set out asparagus crowns in January or February but wait a year before harvesting spears from this perennial crop. Sow seeds of garden peas, snow peas and sugar peas directly in the garden from mid-January through late February. Start seed for spring crops of broccoli, cabbage, collards, kale and swiss chard to have transplants ready for early March. These crops grow best in direct light and cool temperatures. 
  • Prune blueberry bushes in January or February. Remove dead, diseased, weak or crossing stems. On mature bushes, removed one or two of the oldest, thickest canes each year. Apply horticultural oil spray to fruit trees to control mites, scale and other overwintering insects.
  • If starting indoors, provide supplemental light for sturdy, healthy seedlings. If you have not soil tested in the past three years, send off samples now to determine which nutrients your garden needs. Soil samples are currently subject to a peak season sample fee.


  • Don’t apply fertilizers to dormant lawns. Apply lime only if indicated by soil test results. Centipede naturally likes a lower soil pH than other grasses.

Trees and shrubs

  • Broken, dead or diseased limbs can be removed from trees and shrubs anytime during the year.

Planting Plans!

  • February is an epic month for planting vegetables. Here’s a list of dates so you can start sorting seeds and planning transplants. Remember: gardeners on the coast can often start a week earlier in the spring!

Lettuce 2/1 – 4/10

Arugula 2/15 – 3/31

Asparagus 2/15 – 3/31

Broccoli 2/15 – 4/15

Cabbage 2/15 – 4/15

Carrots 2/15 – 3/31

Cauliflower 2/15 – 4/15

Collards 2/15 – 6/30

Kale 2/15 – 6/31

Kohlrabi 2/15 – 6/30

Leeks 2/15 – 6/30

Mustard 2/15 – 6/30

Parsley 2/15 – 4/15

Parsnips 2/15 – 4/15

Peas (English/Garden) 2/15 – 4/15

Potatoes 2/15 – 3/31

Radishes 2/15 – 6/30

Rutabagas 2/15 – 4/15

Spinach 2/15 – 6/30

Turnips 2/15 – 6/30