Ray Baird

GOOD NEWS FOR ALL SNOW LOVERS AN old legend in New England says that if you see lightning during the winter month in January, chances are that will you see snow in January. Just remember it can snow in April but it wont stick around because another legend says that April snow also melts your heart. Another factor in the legend is April’s Fool Day also occurs in April, so don’t be fooled by this legend.

ORDERING SEED FROM THE 2016 SEED CATALOGS by this time of the month, all the seed catalogs have been mailed out depicting their seasonal offerings. Seed catalogs are beneficial only when you purchase seed varieties that you can’t find in local hardware and garden shops. In ordering seeds, always remember that you have to pay shipping and handling charges plus the seed packets only have 25 to 30 seeds or even less, unlike hardware and garden shops, where you purchase seed by the ounce or less than an ounce.

JANUARY CAN BE OUR BIGGEST SNOW MONTH The north wind of January can blow in some snow because winter is now in full swing. The garden plot could use a big snow, the kids are looking forward to some snow and so are we. The garden will be a huge benefactor of several winter snows that will help control the wintering insect population and gets rid of harmful soil of organisms as well as add extra nitrogen to the soil. even the dormant lawn will see the benefit of several snow falls.

CARING FOR WINTER-OVERS INSIDE THE HOUSE The ferns, snake plants, Christmas cactus in the house need a drink of water once a week and some liquid fertilizer once a month to start them on the way to the porch or deck in April. Keep them in a sunny location near a window for sunlight and warmth. You can also use fertilizer prep sticks for a month of feeding.

ROBINS ON THE JANUARY LANDSCAPE We actually saw some robins on the lawn last month, so why should we be surprised to see them again during the month of January? We do believe many of them do not fly south, but find plenty of places in the Piedmont to “hole up” for winter. They can find hideaways in old barns, sheds, buildings, in the woods, in hollow logs or hollow trees as well as other places.

VALENTINES DAY IS ONLY THREE WEEKS AWAY The day of hearts, flowers and love is three weeks away. There are many gifts you can chooses for your Valentine including flowers, chocolates, restaurant gift cards and cards from favorite stores. You can choose the gift of growing things such as seed, tools and gift cards from home improvement warehouses or hard wares. The choice is huge and there is no excuse for not finding the perfect Valentine for that special person.

FROZEN SOIL IN THE MIDST OF JANUARY As we reach past mid-January, we can feel a certain crunch in the garden plot as the soil has reached the frozen state. This is a good thing because the frozen sod will kill harmful insects wintering over in the soil and prepare the way for a better growing season come spring.

THIRTY EXTRA MINUTES OF EXTRA DAYLIGHT As of today, we now have a half hour more of daylight, since December 21, 2015. it does not seem like a big difference but it is an early sign of spring.

AN EARLY VALENTINE APPEARS ON THE LAWN The dark green heart-shaped leaves of the American violetes are appearing on the edge of the garden plot in an early celebration of Valentine’s day. You can make an interesting project by digging up a clump pf American violets and planting them in a container of a good quality potting soil. The violetes will continue to grow for years on your porch or deck and purchase many blooms.

THE SEED DISPLAYS ARE NOW IN BLOOM AND FULL COLOR The garden departments in home improvement warehouses, seed stores and hard wares now have seeds of vegetables and flowers on display. you can go and purchase them now but keep them in a dry area and covers such as in a container or box; remember where you have stored them and keep them all in the same container and make yourself a note.

BEATING THE BUSHES IN JANUARY When we get snow during January, use the broom to knock the snow and ice from rose bushes to prevent the heavy snow and ice from damaging the canes. Make sure the winter wind has not blown away covering of mulch from the base of the bushes.

FEED THE WINTER BIRDS IN JANUARY As the north wind blows, remember to keep the bird feeders full and also empty ice from the birdbaths and refill the water when temperatures rise later in the day.

A WAY TO START THE FIRST MONTH OF THE YEAR ON A GOOD FOOTING January is the very ideal month to get the riding lawn mower taken to the shop for a tune-up. , tighten-up, and make-over for the upcoming season. Most lawnmower repair shops are not as busy this part of winter and many shops will pick up your mower, service it for you and deliver it back to your home. Give one of these shops a call and help them stay busy in mid-winter

AN EYE ON WINTER-OVER PLANTS Keep a check on ferns, Christmas cactus, and other wintering plants and make sure they don’t dry out. Give them a drink of water every week and make sure they are in sunny location. Give them a shot of liquid fertilizer once a month. Water the perennials on your porch or deck but don’t flood them because the soil in the pot container might freeze.

Ray Baird has been providing gardening tips to the community for years and can be reached at 336-969-9350 or at

Ray Baird

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