You can protect your plants by making sure the soil is kept well watered if freezes are expected and keeping less vigorous plants mulched properly with bark or pine straw.
Now is also a good time to plant or transplant shrubs and trees to give them time to develop root systems before the heat of summer arrives. Make sure to wait for a warmer day when the ground isn’t frozen or too muddy.
Bare root fruit’s are an especially good choice to plant at this time of year including: Apples, Blackberries, Figs, Grapes, Peaches, Pears, Pecans, Persimmons, Pomegranates, Raspberries and Strawberries
For established plants you can prune overgrown trees and shrubs fairly easily this time of year. But be sure NOT to prune your spring flowering trees and shrubs like Azaleas, Dogwoods or flowering Cherries until after they have bloomed.
To break the monotony of winter and start bringing color back to your gardens earlier, think about planting some Camellias, Violas, Witch Hazel, Hellebores or Pansies.
Early January is a good time to sow your Lettuce, Radish and Spinach seeds while a little later will be the perfect time to sow your Beets, Bok Choy, Carrots, Collards, Kale, Mustard, Peas, Rutabagas and Turnips.
Good herbs for this time of year include Chives, Cilantro, Dill, Parsley, Echinacea, Feverfew, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Sorrel and Thyme.
Don’t forget the Birds!
Food sources are hard to come by this time of year, so both seed and suet cakes can attract many birds to your yard while helping them stay warm this winter.
They also count on you for a supply of fresh water so if you have a bird bath available think about adding a water wiggler to keep the water from freezing on especially cold nights.