• Lynda Bevere


Updated: Jan 24

Does anyone else love the start of the new year? It really is one of my favorite times of the year. With the craziness of December and the holidays over, I relish the tranquility of January when I can reflect and think about what I want to do in the coming year.

December, as usually was quiet for us, at least in regard to the animals and gardens. My days were instead filled with Christmas decorating, shopping and planning the holiday. It was wonderful to have a large family gathering here at our house for Christmas after the Christmas covid bust last year. While a time to cherish, I must admit, I greet the day after Christmas with a sigh of relief. It was a great (and speedy) holiday season, but mama needs to get back to normal.



1. Keep outdoor animals safe

It was pretty warm in December, but we now need to get out the water heaters to keep the goat and chicken water from freezing. Water is always the toughest part of the winter when you have outdoor animals. Carrying lots of water buckets in cold weather - not so fun. We also need to revisit whether we want to cover the chicken run with plastic. Last year, being so mild and perhaps with us being lazy, we never did, but it is just so nice for the chickens to have an area where they can be out of the rain and snow especially in bad snowstorms. Here's hoping that a warm day motivates me to get out there and do it.

2. Vegetable garden planning

As any vegetable gardener knows, it is the time of year when seed catalogs flood the mailbox. Woo-hoo! So, what does that mean? It is time to plan. What went well last year? What didn't go so well? What do I want to grow again? What do I want to never grow again?

I will assess what seeds I have and can use again and then, put together a new seed order. Undoubtedly, I will try some new vegetable varieties, but I have learned, sometimes its best for us to just focus on what we do well, what is easy to grow in our raised planters and what we like to eat. Because I simply love watching new things grow, I can get sucked into all the cool looking vegetables, but I must restrain myself knowing that in the end, if I or my family do not want to eat it, what is the point of growing it. My recommendation for you too, especially if you are just starting out, is to refrain from growing too many different vegetables. Pick a few you love to eat and that seem easy to grow and start there.

3. Cut flower planning

In addition to vegetables, I like to grow a variety of cut flowers in my vegetable garden. They are super easy to grow from seed, bring in pollinators to help the vegetable plants and I love having easy, inexpensive access to flower arrangements for my home. I definitely always grow zinnias, cosmos and sunflowers, but also need to reevaluate the others flowers I tried and varieties and determine which ones to order again and which to dump. And of course, there will always be some new varieties I will want to try.

4. Seed starting

Does anyone else dislike indoor seed starting? I know, it is sacrilegious as a gardener to say this, but admittedly I am not the best indoor seed starter and find it quite a chore. I have never had a great spot for it in my house and I don't enjoy the mess it creates with watering. Last year I did it in the garage with heat lamps and heating mats. It worked ok, but yet again I really just don't enjoy it. Maybe the dream of having a greenhouse will come true someday and that is where I will find the joy of seed starting, but time will only tell.

In any case, here in Zone 5, January is a bit early for starting seeds indoor, but I will need to think about and order any seeds I may have to start in February. More on that in February and whether I will be doing indoor seeds this year. Just so you know, you don't have to start seeds indoor in order to have a very successful vegetable garden.

5. Protect the orchard from the pesky deer

Our fruit trees can take a beating from the deer in the winter, so we need to make sure we keep up with our biweekly deer repellent spraying. We don't want the deer doing any tree pruning for us.


6. Spray any other deer vulnerable shrubs or trees

While I rarely choose any plants that I know would be ruined by deer, I do have a young rose garden which is particularly subject to deer damage that I need to spray. I may eventually grow to regret the rose garden because of its required maintenance, but what can I say - I am a sucker for beautiful flowers and roses are just that.

7. Keep up the bird feeders

The birds have found and are going full force at the bird feeders this time of year, so it calls for weekly (hopefully not more) feeder replenishments. It's a labor of love for me. My feeders are in direct view out my window where I enjoy my morning coffee.

So all in all, January is kind of sleepy here on the farm. I do enjoy the breather, but I already am finding myself looking forward to the excitement of spring planting. But slow down, don't be so quick, because we all know, simply blink and spring will be here in all its glory.

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