Toby's January 2021 Home, Lawn & Garden Tips:

for the best Home, Lawn & Garden

Toby has spent his entire adult life learning the best way to have the very best home, lawn, garden, and so much more.
Each month he puts together a new list of tips to help you with a plan that will ensure you keep everything up-to-date and going great.

Check back here every month for the very best tips, advice on how to do it right, and what to do!



  • To prevent injury to your lawn, don’t walk on frozen grass.
  • Lawns that were seeded this past fall will need watering during dry periods when the ground is not frozen.
  • If not done in December dormant seeding can still be done in January. First hand rake or verti-cut areas to be seeded.
  • Keep raking or mowing leaves to avoid leaf pile up. Leaves can suffocate grass.
  • Avoid the spring rush. Have your lawn mower tuned up now.


Trees & Shrubs

  • Heavy snow can be gently brushed off trees and shrubs, but allow ice to melt naturally.
  • Prune limbs damaged by ice or snow as soon as possible to prevent further damage and keep the bark from tearing.
  • During dry periods fall planted trees and shrubs should be watered when the ground is not frozen.
  • Fruit trees can be pruned now or in February or early March. Temperatures should be above 25 degrees or damage could be done to the wood. Prune trees before dormant sprays are applied. Start with apples, pears and cherries first. Peaches and nectarines should be pruned just before they bloom.
  • Watch for deer and rabbit damage. If they are a problem, use Deer and Rabbit Scram. It is the best product I’ve seen for repelling them.
  • Check mulch around trees and shrubs. Mulch 2–3 inches deep year round. Keep mulch 4–6 inches from tree trunks and main stems of shrubs.


Vegetables & Fruits

  • Now is the time to plan your spring gardens. The following are my favorite seed and plant catalog companies.

    Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds ( 1-417-924-8917
    W. Atlee Burpee Co. ( 1-800-333-5808
    Park Seed ( 1-800-213-0076
    Renee’s Seeds ( 1-888-880-7228
    Johnny’s Selected Seeds (
    Stokes Seeds ( 1-800-396-9238
    Ferry-Morse Seeds ( 1-800-283-3400
    Seeds of Change ( 1-888-762-7333
    Jung Seed Co. ( 1-800-297-3123
    Bountiful Gardens ( 1-707-459-6410
    The Cook’s Garden ( 1-800-457-9703
    Seed Savers Exchange (
    Tomato Growers Supply Co. (
    Harris Seeds ( 1- 800-514-4441
    Stark Bros. Fruit Trees ( 1-800-325-4180
    Vermont Bean Seed Co. ( 1-800-349-1071
  • Check left over garden seed. Most garden vegetable seed will
    remain viable for about 3 years, if kept in cold, dark, dry storage.
    There are a few exceptions. Onion, parsnip, corn and parsley may
    last only 1 to 2 years. To check to see if your seed is good, set 10
    to 20 seeds on several layers of pre-moistened paper towels or napkins. Roll them up carefully in the paper so they will stay separate. Place in a plastic bag and keep in a warm place (70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit). Check the seeds in 5-7 days. If needed re-moisten the paper towels or napkins with warm water and check 5-7 days later. Allow three weeks for most varieties to germinate. Counting the seeds that sprout versus the seeds that don’t sprout will give you the percentage of germination. If there is no germination in three weeks you’ll need to purchase new seed.


Annuals, Perennial Flowers & Ornamental Grasses

  • To prevent insects or diseases from over wintering in the garden, remove and compost all plant debris.
  • Cut back and clean spent flowers and leaves of established perennials after they are damaged by frost. I don’t recommend removing the foliage of perennials planted this year. They will winter over better left untrimmed. Mulch 2 – 3 inches deep.



  • Houseplants appreciate being watered with warm tap water at this time of the year.
  • Fertilize houseplants every other month during the winter. I love Hummert Dyna Green Sure Bloom. Use 1 tablespoon per gallon of water.
  • To increase the humidity around houseplants that need it, set the pot on tray filled with marbles or decorative rock and water. Be sure the drain holes of the pot don’t touch the water.
  • Monitor all indoor plants for insects on a regular basis. Check the top and underside of the leaves and the soil surface. If insects are found, Insecticidal Soap sprays control most insect pests.
  • Once a month wash the dust off the houseplant leaves. I set my plants in the shower and wash them off with warm water.


House & Home Tips

  • Clean or replace furnace filters.
  • Check air pressure monthly in car tires for better gas mileage.
  • Clean, sharpen and oil the garden tools to get ready for spring.
  • Check out the attic for condensation and if present, improve the ventilation.
  • Clean the filter in the hood over the range.
  • Check the snow blower. Make sure it is ready to go before the snow flies.
  • Check clothes dryer vents and hoses for lint buildup that could cause a fire. Clean it if necessary.