January Homesteading Chores by USDA Zone

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USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
For more in depth information about your local conditions, visit Plant Maps and enter your zip code.

 

January Homesteading Chores

From the blustery northern states to the sunny south, there are always chores to do on a modern homestead. Livestock will need food, water, and care on a daily basis, but many chores will depend on the season and your climate.

These chores are intended as a general guideline. Most homesteaders will need to adjust their activities according to their local climate and conditions. In the extreme northern areas, many homesteading activities may not be possible or advisable.

For information tailored to your area, consult your local  extension office.

frost on the trees

USDA Zone 1

Homesteaders in Zone 1 endure a long, dark winter with extreme conditions.  Livestock will need a draft free barn with plenty of bedding and extra attention to keep them healthy. The extra care and feed necessary for livestock may negate the benefits of keeping them. Chickens, with their small body size and susceptibility to frostbite, may not survive well in this zone without supplemental heat. Consider keeping a heavy breed of duck instead, as they have more body fat. Homesteading activities in winter are limited and may include trapping, hunting, and splitting firewood.

Average low temperatures:
  • -60 to -55F in zone 1a
  • -55 to -50F in zone 1b
Average Frost Free Dates:
  • Average last frost in spring – June 15th
  • Average first frost in fall – July 15th

Barn Chores

  • Keep livestock well fed and protected from wind and cold
  • Check for signs of hypothermia and frostbite on livestock
  • Water should be kept ice free with proper heaters
  • Make sure barn is ventilated (but draft free) to prevent disease
  • Give poultry corn or sunflower seed for extra calories
  • Poultry may lay eggs with 14 hours of artificial light a day in their coop
  • Gather eggs often to prevent freezing
  • Keep bedding clean and dry

Garden Chores

  • Order gardening catalogs
  • Plan garden beds (be sure to rotate crops)
  • Clean and oil tools if you didn’t do so in autumn
  • Grow herbs and houseplants under lights indoors
  • Check houseplants for scale and mites, treat if necessary

 

 sunny, snowy morning

 

USDA Zone 2

Homesteaders in Zone 2 endure a long, dark winter with extreme conditions.  Livestock will need a draft free barn with plenty of bedding and extra attention to keep them healthy. The extra care and feed necessary for livestock may negate the benefits of keeping them. Poultry, with their small body size and susceptibility to frostbite, may not survive well in this zone without supplemental heat. Consider keeping a heavy breed of duck instead, as they have more body fat. Homesteading activities in winter are limited and may include trapping, hunting, and splitting firewood.

Average Low Temperatures:
  • -50 to -45F in zone 2a
  • -45 to -30F in zone 2b
Average Frost Free Dates:
  • Average last frost in spring – May 15th
  • Average first frost in fall – August 15th

Barn Chores

  • Keep livestock well fed and protected from wind and cold
  • Check for signs of hypothermia and frostbite on livestock
  • Water should be kept ice free with proper heaters
  • Make sure barn is ventilated (but draft free) to prevent disease
  • Give poultry corn or sunflower seed for extra calories
  • Poultry may lay eggs with 14 hours of artificial light a day in their coop
  • Gather eggs often to prevent freezing
  • Keep bedding clean and dry

Garden Chores

  • Order gardening catalogs
  • Plan garden beds (be sure to rotate crops)
  • List seed varieties to order
  • Check fruit bearing trees and shrubs for damage from wildlife
  • Clean and oil tools if you didn’t do so in autumn
  • Grow herbs and houseplants under lights indoors
  • Check houseplants for scale and mites, treat if necessary
  • Houseplants do not need fertilizer until daylight hours increase

 

January Homesteading Chores - The New Homesteader's Almanac

USDA Zone 3

Homesteaders in Zone 3 endure a long winter with extreme conditions.  Livestock will need a draft free barn with plenty of bedding to keep them healthy. Poultry, with their small body size and susceptibility to frostbite, will need a draft free coop and may need supplemental heat. Consider keeping a heavy breed of duck instead, as they have more body fat. Homesteading activities in winter may include trapping, ice fishing, and splitting firewood.

Average Low Temperatures:
  • -40 to -35F in zone 3a
  • -35 to -30F in zone 3b
Average Frost Free Dates:
  • Average last frost in spring – May 15th
  • Average first frost in fall – September 15th

Barn Chores

  • Keep livestock well fed and protected from wind and cold
  • Check for signs of hypothermia and frostbite on livestock
  • Water should be kept ice free with proper heaters
  • Make sure barn is ventilated (but draft free) to prevent disease
  • Give poultry corn or sunflower seed in evening to keep them warm
  • Poultry may lay eggs with 14 hours of artificial light a day in their coop
  • Gather eggs often to prevent freezing
  • Keep bedding clean and dry
  • Check fence lines for needed repairs and signs of predators

Garden Chores

  • Get seed orders ready
  • Plan garden beds (be sure to rotate crops)
  • Clean up seed starting area and list supplies needed
  • Check fruit bearing trees and shrubs for damage from wildlife
  • Clean and oil tools if you didn’t do so in autumn
  • Grow herbs and houseplants under lights indoors
  • Check houseplants for scale and mites, treat if necessary

 

window

 

 

USDA Zone 4

Homesteaders in Zone 4 may experience extreme weather conditions. Homesteading activities in winter are limited during periods of extreme cold. Small livestock, such as poultry, will need a draft free barn with plenty of bedding and some extra feed to keep them healthy. Homesteading activities may include ice fishing, preparing for sugaring season, and splitting firewood.

Average Low Temperatures:
  • -30 to -25F in zone 4a
  • -25 to -20F in zone 4b
Average Frost Free Dates:
  • Average last frost in spring – May 15th
  • Average first frost in fall – September 15th

Barn Chores

  • Keep livestock well fed and protected from wind and cold
  • Check for signs of hypothermia and frostbite on livestock
  • Water should be kept ice free with proper heaters
  • Make sure barn is ventilated (but draft free) to prevent disease
  • Give poultry corn or sunflower seed in evening to keep them warm
  • Poultry may lay eggs with 14 hours of artificial light a day in their coop
  • Gather eggs often to prevent freezing
  • Keep bedding clean and dry
  • Check fence lines for needed repairs and signs of predators
  • Check sugaring equipment for needed repairs, stock up on firewood for boiling sap

Garden Chores

  • Order gardening seeds and supplies
  • Clean seed starting area and order supplies needed
  • Plan garden beds (be sure to rotate crops)
  • List fruit trees, shrubs, perennials, and annual plants to order
  • Check fruit bearing trees and shrubs for damage from wildlife
  • Clean and sharpen pruning tools
  • Clean and oil tools if you didn’t do so in autumn
  • Grow herbs and houseplants in sunny windows or under lights
  • Check houseplants for scale and mites, treat if necessary

 

 

chickens in the pasture

USDA Zone 5

Homesteaders in Zone 5 may experience extreme weather conditions. Homesteading activities in winter are limited during periods of extreme cold. Small livestock, such as poultry, will need a draft free barn with plenty of bedding and some extra feed to keep them healthy. Homesteading activities may include ice fishing, butchering livestock, checking fence lines, preparing for sugaring season, and pruning fruit trees.

Average Low Temperatures:
  • -20 to -15F in zone 5a
  • -15 to -10F in zone 5b
Average Frost Free Dates:
  • Average last frost in spring – April 15th
  • Average first frost in fall – October 15th

Barn Chores

  • Keep livestock well fed and protected from wind and cold
  • Check for signs of frostbite on chicken combs, wattles, and feet
  • Water should be kept ice free with proper heaters
  • Make sure barn is ventilated (but draft free) to prevent disease
  • Give poultry corn or sunflower seed in evening to keep them warm
  • Poultry may lay eggs with 14 hours of artificial light a day in their coop
  • Gather eggs often to prevent freezing
  • Keep bedding clean and dry
  • Order hatchery catalogs for spring poultry purchases
  • Check fence lines for needed repairs and signs of predators
  • Check sugaring equipment for needed repairs, stock up on firewood for boiling sap

Garden Chores

  • Order gardening seeds and supplies from seed catalogs
  • Set up seed starting area
  • Plant seeds of cool season, spring flowering annuals indoors
  • Plant seeds of cold tolerant perennials indoors
  • Plan garden beds (be sure to rotate crops)
  • List fruit trees, shrubs, perennials, and annual plants to order
  • Check fruit bearing trees and shrubs for damage from wildlife
  • Clean and sharpen pruning tools
  • Begin pruning fruit trees if conditions allow
  • Grow herbs and houseplants in sunny windows or under lights
  • Check houseplants for scale and mites, treat if necessary

January Homesteading Chores - The New Homesteader's Almanac

 

USDA Zone 6

Homesteaders in Zone 6 may experience extreme weather conditions.  Poultry are susceptible to frostbite and should have a draft free roost overnight. Pruning trees and shrubs to remove damaged and weak growth should be a homesteading priority this month. Other homesteading activities include checking fence lines for repairs, butchering livestock, preparing for livestock birthing, collecting sap and making maple syrup when sap is running, repairing farm implements for spring planting, and starting some flower and vegetable seeds indoors.

Average Low Temperatures:
  • -10 to -5F in zone 6a
  • -55 to 0F in zone 6b
Average Frost Free Dates:
  • Average last frost in spring – April 15th
  • Average first frost in fall – October 15th

Barn Chores

  • Protect livestock from wind and cold
  • Check for signs of frostbite on chicken combs, wattles, and feet
  • Water should be kept ice free with proper heaters
  • Make sure barn is ventilated (but draft free) to prevent disease
  • Give poultry corn or sunflower seed in evening to keep them warm
  • Poultry may lay eggs with 14 hours of artificial light a day in their coop
  • Gather eggs often to prevent freezing
  • Keep bedding clean and dry
  • Plan hatchery orders for day old poultry
  • Clean and organize hatching supplies and brooders
  • Prepare for livestock birthing, clean and check bottles and first aid kit
  • Check fence lines for needed repairs and signs of predators
  • Clean sugaring equipment, stock up on firewood for boiling sap
  • Collect and boil sap on warm days

Garden Chores

  • Order gardening seeds and supplies from seed catalogs
  • Set up seed starting area and purchase potting mix & materials
  • Plant seeds of cool season, spring flowering annuals indoors
  • Plant perennial seeds indoors
  • Plant cool season vegetables indoors
  • Plant seeds of slow growing, warm season vegetables indoors
  • Plan garden beds (be sure to rotate crops)
  • Order fruit trees, shrubs, perennials, and annual plants for spring
  • Prune fruit trees and shrubs
  • Clean and sharpen gardening tools
  • Grow herbs and houseplants in sunny windows
  • Increase fertilizer for houseplants slightly

 

January Homesteading Chores - The New Homesteader's Almanac

USDA Zone 7

Homesteaders in Zone 7 may experience extreme weather conditions. Poultry are susceptible to frostbite when temperatures drop below freezing and should have a draft free roost overnight. Pruning trees and shrubs to remove damaged and weak growth should be completed this month. Planting garden seeds indoors begins in earnest this month, as well as cleaning and preparing garden beds. Preparing for baby livestock will also be a priority.

Average Low Temperatures:
  • 0 to 5F in zone 7a
  • 5 to 10F in zone 7b
Average Frost Free Dates:
  • Average last frost in spring – April 15th
  • Average first frost in fall – October 15th

Barn Chores

  • Make sure barn is ventilated (but draft free) to prevent disease
  • Give poultry corn or sunflower seed in evening to keep them warm
  • Poultry may lay eggs with 14 hours of artificial light a day in their coop
  • Gather eggs often in freezing temperatures
  • Keep bedding clean and dry
  • Place orders for day old poultry in advance to guarantee timely delivery
  • Clean and organize hatching supplies and brooders
  • Prepare for livestock birthing, clean and check bottles and first aid kit
  • Check fencing for needed repairs and signs of predators
  • Prepare equipment for planting spring crops

Garden Chores

  • Finish ordering gardening seeds and supplies
  • Finish setting up seed starting area
  • Plant seeds of warm season annual flowers and vegetables
  • Direct seed cool season crops in cold frames or low tunnels
  • Prepare garden beds
  • Plant dormant fruit trees, shrubs, and perennials
  • Apply dormant oil spray to fruit trees
  • Clean and sharpen gardening tools
  • Grow herbs and houseplants in sunny windows
  • Increase fertilizer for houseplants slightly

 

Fresh eggs

USDA Zone 8

Homesteaders in Zone 8 may be harvesting cool season crops from protected beds. Poultry should have a draft free roost overnight. Finish pruning trees and shrubs to remove damaged and weak growth this month. Planting flower and vegetable seeds indoors should be underway. Prepare garden beds when conditions allow. Cool season crops may be direct seeded in cold frames or low tunnels. Be prepared to cover plants to protect from frost. Take care of young animals and livestock due to give birth. Begin incubating eggs and set up brooders for newly hatched poultry.

Average Low Temperatures:
  • 10 to 15F in zone 8a
  • 15 to 20F in zone 8b
Average Frost Free Dates:
  • Average last frost in spring – March 15th
  • Average first frost in fall – November 15th

Barn Chores

  • Pasture livestock in good weather
  • Make sure barn is ventilated (but draft free) to prevent disease
  • Give poultry corn or sunflower seed if weather is cold
  • Poultry may lay eggs with 14 hours of artificial light a day in their coop
  • Gather eggs often during freezing temperatures
  • Keep bedding clean and dry
  • Place orders for day old poultry
  • Clean and organize hatching supplies and brooders
  • Prepare for livestock birthing, clean and check bottles and first aid kit
  • Repair fencing and check for signs of predators

Garden Chores

  • Prepare garden beds
  • Harvest cool season greens, such as spinach and kale, from protected beds
  • Direct seed cool season vegetables
  • Plant seeds of warm season flowers and vegetables indoors under lights
  • Plant dormant fruit trees, shrubs, hardy perennials, and bare root roses
  • Plant evergreens
  • Prune winter blooming trees and shrubs after flowering
  • Spray dormant oil on fruit trees before buds swell
  • Clean and sharpen gardening tools
  • Grow herbs and houseplants in sunny windows
  • Increase fertilizer for houseplants
  • Protect tender plants from frost

January Homesteading Chores - The New Homesteader's Almanac

USDA Zone 9

Homesteaders in zone 9 may be harvesting lettuce, spinach, and other cool season crops. New plantings may be started for the last of the cool weather crops. Warm season vegetables should be started under lights. Young livestock should be cared for in inclement weather. Homesteading activities may include foraging for wild foods, fishing, planting early crops, and raising young livestock. Tender plantings need to be protected if frost threatens.

Average Low Temperatures:
  • 20 to 25F in zone 9a
  • 25 to 30F in zone 9b
Average Frost Free Dates:
  • Average last frost in spring – February 15th
  • Average first frost in fall – December 15th

Barn Chores

  • Pasture livestock, protect from inclement weather
  • Make sure barn is ventilated to prevent disease
  • Give poultry corn or sunflower seed in evening only if weather is cold
  • Poultry may lay eggs with 14 hours of light a day
  • Gather eggs often if temperatures drop
  • Keep bedding clean and dry
  • Place orders for day old poultry
  • Begin hatching poultry in incubators
  • Prepare for livestock birthing, clean and check bottles and first aid kit
  • Repair fencing and check for signs of predators

Garden Chores

  • Harvest cool season crops
  • Direct seed next crop of cool season vegetables
  • Plant warm season plants under lights indoors
  • Plant fruit trees, shrubs, hardy perennials, and frost tolerant annuals
  • Plant citrus trees
  • Clean and sharpen gardening tools
  • Grow herbs and houseplants in sunny windows, move outdoors in nice weather
  • Increase fertilizer for houseplants

 

January Homesteading Chores - The New Homesteader's Almanac

USDA Zone 10

Homesteaders living in zone 10 should be prepared to cover tender crops if frost threatens. Cool season crops may be harvested and replaced with another planting of lettuce, spinach, kale, early cabbages, turnips and other cool season crops. Warm season flowers and vegetables should be growing under lights indoors. Citrus fruits may be harvested and new citrus trees planted. Watch for signs of pests and disease on crops. Potted plants may be moved outdoors on warm days.

Average Low Temperatures:
  • 30 to 35F in zone 10a
  • 35 to 40F in zone 10b
Average Frost Free Dates:
  • Average last frost in spring – January 31st
  • Average first frost in fall – December 15th

Barn Chores

  • Pasture livestock
  • Make sure barn is ventilated (but draft free) to prevent disease
  • Poultry may lay eggs with 14 hours of light a day
  • Keep bedding clean and dry
  • Prepare brooders for day old poultry orders
  • Hatch eggs in incubators
  • Prepare for livestock birthing, clean and check bottles and first aid kit
  • Repair fencing and check for signs of predators

Garden Chores

  • Harvest cool season crops grown in cold frames
  • Direct seed next crop of cool season vegetables in cold frames
  • Harden off cool season flower and vegetable seedlings and plant in protected areas
  • Plant warm season plants under lights indoors
  • Protect citrus trees from frost
  • Plant citrus trees, fruit trees, shrubs, hardy perennials, and frost tolerant annuals
  • Clean and sharpen gardening tools
  • Grow herbs and houseplants in sunny windows
  • Increase fertilizer for houseplants

January Homesteading Chores - The New Homesteader's Almanac

 

USDA Zone 11

Homesteaders in zone 11 are able to grow heat loving tropical plants without concern for freezing temperatures. Cool season crops may be harvested and direct seeded in areas that remain cool, such as in shady beds. Tender seedlings of warm season flowers and vegetables may be hardened off, but be prepared to bring in on cold nights. Garden beds should be prepared and ready to plant. Citrus may be harvested and new citrus trees planted.

Average Low Temperatures:
  • 40 to 45F for zone 11a
  • 45 to 50F for zone 11b
Average Frost Free Dates:
  • No frost

 

Barn Chores

  • Pasture livestock
  • Poultry may lay eggs with 14 hours of light a day
  • Keep bedding clean and dry to prevent disease
  • Place orders for day old poultry
  • Hatch poultry in incubators
  • Prepare for livestock birthing, clean and check bottles and first aid kit
  • Repair fencing and check for signs of predators

Garden Chores

  • Harvest cool season crops
  • Direct seed next crop of cool season vegetables
  • Harden off seedlings of cool season annuals
  • Set out cold tolerant perennials
  • Plant heat loving plants under lights indoors
  • Plant citrus, fruit trees, shrubs, and hardy perennials
  • Weed beds
  • Grow herbs and houseplants in sunny windows or on patios
  • Fertilize houseplants
  • Harvest citrus fruits

 

Notes: Within each USDA Zone, there are many different micro-climates and variations in frost free dates, average low temperatures, and average high temperatures. Visit the Interactive USDA Zone Map for the most accurate information about your local conditions.
The information listed here is intended to give a general guideline to appropriate homesteading activities for your area. Each individual using these guidelines must determine if the information is accurate for their conditions.

 

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