Pacific Northwest Gardening in January is an indoor sport. You may have noticed that it is cold and wet outside, but not so inside. Sure cold is relative. If you lived in Montana, you wouldn’t think of Portland winters as cold. But you don’t live in Montana. You’re smarter than that.

There is lots of gardening to be done indoors. There are the seed catalogs. (How did the companies in Vermont and Maine and Georgia get my address?) You can ponder, pick and choose without even needing gloves. You can think about what didn’t go so well last year. In my garden, there are always plenty of opportunities there. You can try to remember where you planted the tomatoes for the last couple years so you don’t plant them there again if it ever gets warm enough to plant tomatoes this year.

If you’re brave enough to go out to the garage, you could clean those tools you stuck away late in October, telling yourself you would clean them after Halloween. It is definitely after Halloween. You could also attempt to sharpen them. During the process, you can contemplate just why the file keeps changing angles as you stroke it against the tool. If you figure it out, you can teach a sharpening class in the spring and earn some of those valuable program hours.

The most important thing you can do is watch. Watch the weather. Many years...Ok, some years, there is a dry spell in late January. Or maybe February. On the last couple days of that dry spell, the soil in your garden just might be dry enough and warm enough to work. You can pay that neighborhood kid to go out and break up the clods you left in your garden and prepare it for spring planting. Don’t pay them too much though. Kids are spoiled these days.

Snowy yard 1.JPG