January is not too early to think about gardening – Hometown Focus

Sometimes I think January is my favorite time to garden. what? Gardening in January? January is the time when new seed and garden catalogs start arriving. January is the time when you need a break from the white outside air.

In January, the University of Minnesota (U of MN) Extension Office will release the results of last summer’s seed exam. My garden book and list is coming out in January so you can plot, visualize, and order. Yes, January is one of his favorite months for gardening.

I am writing this on the second day of the major snow event before Christmas. It can be hard to wait until January to dream of a summer garden. Johnny’s Select Seed must have read my mind. An email popped up with the subject line “New trending flowers – shop by color and discover new favorites.”

This follows an earlier email, “New Flavors for 2023,” and FedCo’s request to “Check out our new climate-tolerant varieties.” The results of the University of Minnesota’s annual flower seed exam have been released. The gardener never rests in cold weather. I am busy preparing for spring.

January is a good time to think about and work out solutions to garden problems you encountered last season. Now is a good time to find the perfect garden trowel or soaker hose set for that problem space.

We know you’ll want to experiment more with growing potatoes in fabric ‘growing bags’. Did you know we’re introducing new colors and styles this year? What an interesting way to add color and variety to your garden space by incorporating colored grow bags of different shapes and sizes to add a pop.

Consider the extra space in your garden shed (or garage) if you store collapsible bags instead of planters. I empty my soil in the fall and use the bags to cover the more sensitive plants and protect them a bit over the winter.

What annuals to plant in spring? The top 10 performers for the U of MN seed trial were announced a little earlier this year. These annual flowers are valued for their unique characteristics, superior performance, color, and vigor under local conditions. Several times during the growing season, each cultivar is given a visual evaluation and a score.

Look for Begonia Megawatt™ Pink Bronze Leaf Modified, Dahlia Labella® Maggiore Fan Flame, Marigold Mary Orange, Petunia Supertunia Mini Vista® Midnight, and other new and improved blooms in your local greenhouse this spring.

One new idea to add to your gift set is seed paper. The seed paper is a special eco paper made by recycling paper waste, and seeds are embedded in it. When you plant paper in potting soil or in your outdoor garden, the seeds inside the paper germinate and become plants.

The paper itself biodegrades, leaving only flowers, herbs, or vegetables. I discovered calendars, wedding invitations, and confetti made from seed paper with a variety of seeds embedded, including wildflower blends, triherb blends, and native wildflowers. Or try a seed bomb as a gift. I’ve included the link below in the resources section.

So if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by the January weather, wait for the first seed catalogs to arrive. Peruse flowers and vegetables. Dream about how amazing your garden space will be around July when Lighthouse Red Salvia and Marvel Mix II African Marigolds are in bloom. What do Shishimai Peppers and Cristabel Lettuce taste like?

Planning a wedding or other celebration? Check out how many plantable products you can incorporate into your event. Cheers!


Annual Flower Seed Trial Results: www.extension.umn.edu/yardand garden-news/2022-annual-flower-trial-results

Annual Flower Top 10: www.wcroc.cfans. umn.edu/research/horticulture/2022-top-ten

Seed paper and other plantable paper products: www.botanicalpaperworks.com/native-species seed-paper/#

Sally Koski is an Extension Volunteer/Cent at the University of Minnesota. She lives in Ely and is a gardening Master of Lewis County She is a gardener. Any lawn and garden questions can be sent to her Sally at sally.k.koski@gmail.com.

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