January in the northern hemisphere is cold, and there is little practical work to do in the garden. The cold has set in, the ground is frozen (to at least 2 inches here), and frosts threaten any tender plants. Despite the cold, there are a few things to do to keep your love of gardening going.
I have found January a time to slow down, reflect on the previous year, and plan for the one to come. I have found timing an important part of gardening and planning essential to a successful year. Even if you have to diverge from the plan, the planning process helps you to react no matter what you may face in the garden.
Along with planning, preparing for the growing season will be a massive help when things start to get busy. Cleaning pots, clearing out rubbish and making space to work are all tasks that can be done while the ground remains frozen.
Learning is essential to successful gardening. Some people learn by doing and taking the time to reflect on successes and failures will help improve the coming year, but I also like to add to me knowledge by reading books and listening to pod casts. While gardening can be fun and relaxed, it is also a world of science and there are many rabit holes of knowledge to explore. I have recently purchased a number of gardening books which have helped build my base knowledge to underpin my gardening skills. While they are not overly technical, they give me enough to get the basics down from which I can improve.
I have found the winter months, including January, a good time to work on garden structures. A big project this winter has been building a new chicken coop from reclaimed fence panels. The project has taken some time but I have finally finished and the chickens have a new home, more space to roam and, if I get my way, more space for the flock to grow.
Most importantly is making sure you take some time for yourself, to catch up on life and connect with others. The months ahead can be busy with lots of sowing, growing and harvesting to do, so take this time, relax a bit and look forward to the months to come and all they bring.