February 26, 2024

January Tasks for Southern Garden Enthusiasts

JanuaryHappy New Year southern gardening enthusiasts!  It’s January 2013!

I’m excited to get this year started as it just feels like it’s going to be a great year!

I know it’s cold in some parts of the county but here in the Charleston, SC we’ve had the most gorgeous weather I can remember in January.

So…  just because it’s January doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of things to do for gardening enthusiasts in the south!  Winter in the south is almost always a sort of on again, off again, kind of thing.  At least it is here in Charleston where I live.

In most parts of the south, there are always at least a few sunny days in January that are good for getting outdoors and if you are like most southern gardeners you love spending those days doing a little work around the garden and around the yard in general.

January Tasks:

Fill your feeders.

suet feeder

Fill your feeders with high energy foods for your feathered friends.  Providing Suet and high quality seed in the winter will have the birds flocking to your yard!  My favorite is my  Songbird Essentials Squirrel Resistant Suet Palace pictured in the tree.  I love all the Songbird Essentials products.  Most of them are guaranteed for life!

As for the suet to fill the feeder with, while it’s true that there are many commercial varieties of suet are available on the market, I’ve got an easy recipe for making your own suet here.


In the lower coastal and tropical south there are plenty of choices for flowers that you can plant now in areas that you can provide full sun.  A couple of my favorites are sweet peas and petunias but there are many more that will withstand the cooler weather temps if given enough sun.  In the tropical south, even impatiens, marigolds, and geraniums can generally be planted.


Trees & Shrubs

My favorite winter flower actually comes from a shrub.  Camellias are affectionately known as “the roses of winter” and are the Alabama state flower.  They make fragrant and long lasting little arrangements for putting around  your home.  I put the flowers in short vases and put them everywhere.  The fragrance is heavenly!  As long as the ground isn’t frozen, January is the perfect time to plant these shrubs.  You can also get a head start in colder areas by planing them in containers and moving them to the ground when it thaws in the spring.  The same is true for Winter Honeysuckle.  Plant these shrubs near entryways and windows you like to open for fullest enjoyment.

As a general rule of thumb, any tree that can overwinter in your part of the south can also be planted at this time providing the ground isn’t frozen.

Order seeds & planting supplies now

You can start some leafy vegetables indoors as soon as you get your seeds!  Getting the jump on your seed order means you can get a jump on starting your seeds indoors, saving money, and enjoying your garden earlier.  Go ahead, order your seeds and any other supplies that you know you’ll need with this January coupon worth 15% off your order of $60 or more with code GARDEN1560 through 2/1 at Burpee.com!

Lawn & Soil

Now is the time to spread annual rye-grass if you want to keep a green lawn all winter long.  Looking out on a green lawn always makes the world seem a little brighter in a dreary month of the year.

Get your soil tested to see if it needs Lyme.  Visit your local Extension office for info on how to do this by mail.  Note: Never add Lime without testing soil first!

You can also stay on top of your soil and prepare for your spring vegetable garden by tilling and adding some organic matter to your soil to keep it loose and hold in moisture.  Do a little of this on dry days consistently over the winter months and your spring vegetable garden will be ready for planting those plants you started indoors.

Start a Journal

On days when it is too cold to get outside, that’s a great time to begin a garden journal.  A journal with information about the next 12 months will be invaluable in making  future gardening plans going forward.  There’s no better time than January to get this going!  Make notes about all your observations and especially those regarding weather conditions, what and when and how you planted, when things bloomed, what worked, what didn’t, and what gave you the most enjoyment.


By late spring you’ll be glad that you took the time now to do a little planning before time to start your canning.  Now is the time to take inventory of your canning supplies, purchase, replace or upgrade equipment, plan what you’ll can this year and gather new recipes organized by the quantities and qualities of what’s fresh and available month by month.  I use a beautiful canning book I found in a roadside market on a trip back from Hilton Head Island.  It’s titled “Putting up, A Year-Round Guide to Canning in the Southern tradition” by Stephen Palmer Dowdney.  It’s perfect for planning because it’s organized by eacj month with all the recipes for putting up what’s currently in season and available in abundance. I even got a signed copy!  It’s also available on Amazon if you are interested Putting Up: A Year-Round Guide to Canning in the Southern Tradition

Well, I’ll bet there is more to be done than I’ve mentioned but these are the tasks I’ve got on my mind this month and what I’ve been focusing on.

Wishing you a happy new year and a great month of gardening in January.

Leigha sig



P.S.  Don’t forget to subscribe to my gardening tips newsletter and get my best tips, fun projects, and great offers I find around the web.




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