Time to Start the Garden

Ahhh January for gardeners is a time to watch the mailbox for all those glorious seed catalogs.   When a catalog comes in the mail I can’t wait until I can grab a cup of tea kick back in my recliner with those catalogs.  Let it snow and blow outside,  when the weather shuts down the outside world that’s ok with me.  I am on “Garden Time”.  It  exists only in my mind.  I can dream of what I want my garden to be, plot and plan maybe even a little drooling could be involved.  Such grand plans run through my mind while I am in my recliner dreaming.  Ohhh What a garden I have (in my mind).  Then reality sets in and I realize its not possible to plant and grow all these  things unless I  win the lottery and have a gardening staff,  but that’s another dream.

I must caution you  as tempting as it is to order with wild abandon all those things you want to grow.  I assure you don’t have a garden spot big enough or the time to do the work to maintain it.   Now with that being said  lets talk about seed catalogs.  Seed catalogs are a wealth of information. You can learn a great deal about the plants and seeds from them..

Some important things to consider when deciding what to order:

  1. Days to harvest.

  2. Light requirement.

  3. Spacing.

  4. Hardiness zone.

Are you interested in only growing organic?  Are you looking for hybrids?  Do you want to save seeds from the plants you grow?  If so you may want to order only heirloom seed.

A few other things we can do with our garden while its cold outside is make a garden plan.   Create for yourself a garden journal, draw out your garden on a sheet of paper. It does not have to be anything fancy.  Decide where you want to plant things, how long will your rows be  Will there be beds in your garden.   Remember that some plants do not like growing next to one another other plants do best if next to certain plants.  Companion planting is a great topic to read about now and get to know.

Internet Resources:

A few places on the internet to find lots of garden information.

Daves Garden




 Seed Catalog Companies:   This is a short list of some catalogs available that I like to use myself.  There are hundreds of places to order seeds,  by all means share with us if you know of some you like to order from.

Johnny’s Selected Seed


 Bountiful Gardens


 Seed Savers Exchange


 Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds


Botanical Interest


 Ohio Heirloom Seeds


Another very important thing to do now is get your soil samples done.  It needs done as soon as possible.  Contact your local county extension agent  for further instructions.  In Kentucky and Tennessee I know the soil sample are less than $10.00.

 Its time to plan and organize your garden for this year.  Before you know it  will be time to start planting that garden you have been dreaming about.




Cathy Lackey

University of Kentucky Master Gardener

University of Tennessee Master Gardener