Fun in the (no) sun

There are January gardening chores to do:
* Save fireplace or woodstove (from real logs only, not “Duraflame”!!!) ashes for alkaline loving plants, such as iris, hydrangeas and clematis. Wood ashes are alkaline and contain trace amounts of calcium and potassium.
* Now’s the time to check old seeds for viability. Soak a paper towel in water and tuck 10 of the same seeds inside. Put in a warm place. Check in a week or so. If 8 of the 10 seeds have started germinating, then those seeds have 80% viability. If 6, then 60%, 4 then 40%, so on.
* Check and clean garden tools. Replace whatever is worn beyond reason. I had a couple of trowels last year whose wooden handles were splintering. So I decoupaged the handles and now they’re smooth and useable, and GORGEOUS! They’ll go another 5 years or more.
* Remove heavy snow from evergreens.
* Houseplants need extra TLC this time of year. Check for spider mites, mealy bugs, etc. Dust off and clean the leaves; use a wet paper towel or take the pots to the shower with you. Withhold feeding for now.

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