January is almost upon us, so here is my gardening calendar for the month, once again gleaned from various sources including the Master Gardener's Handbook and the Alabama Gardener's Calendar.
•Make a garden plan! Plan the garden to include various vitamin and mineral groups.
•Consider planting a few new varieties along with the old favorites.
•Plan the amount of each vegetable to be planted, including enough to can and freeze (preserve), if you're able. Allow about 1/10 acre of garden space for each member of the family.
•Buy enough quality seed for two or three plantings to lengthen the season of production.
•Take soil samples if you have not already done so, and take them to your county extension office for analysis. Your local extension office is an invaluable resource if you plan to garden!
•Apply manure or compost and plow/turn it under if you did not do so in the fall.
•Apply lime, sulfur and fertilizer according to your soil-test results and vegetable requirements. Buy 100 pounds of fertilize for each 1/10 acre to be planted (if manure is not available, buy at least half again more). Use 5-10-10 or 6-12-12 analysis, depending on soil test and vegetable requirements.
•Get plant beds or seed boxes ready for growing plants such as tomato, pepper and eggplant. Have beds ready for planting in early February.
•Check on your compost pile and make sure it is ready for use in the spring.
•And once again, go by your county extension office and get copies of their gardening publications.
If you like to be an early-early bird with your planting (like me!) here in Zone 7, you can transplant cabbage and cauliflower plants after January 10. Onions should be transplanted and lettuce seed can be sown after January 25.
Remember, above ground plants like cabbage, cauliflower and lettuces do best when planted when the moon is waxing, or growing. Below-ground plants like onions should be planted when the moon is waning, or shrinking. And don't forget to try and plant everything during a fruitful sign! There's a link to a handy moon phase/sign calculator over there on the right.
Happy gardening! :)