Bernard M'Mahon's 1806 American Gardener's Calendar published in Philadelphia
Work to be Done in the Kitchen Garden in January
IN such parts of the Union, where the ground is not at this time bound up with frost, continue to dig the waste quarters of your kitchen garden, first giving them such manure as they require; laying them in high sloping ridges, to sweeten and be improved by the frost, &e. more especially if the soil be of a stiff nature: by which method, its adhesion is destroyed, the pores are opened for the admission of air, frost, rain and dews, all of which abounding with nitrous salts, contribute, in a high degree, towards its melioration and fertility ; and besides a great quantity of ground thus prepared, can be soon leveled in the spring for sowing or planting; which, if neglected, would require much time to dig in a proper manner, and that at a period, when the throng of business requires every advantage of previous preparation.
When the ground at this time is frozen so hard as not to be dug, which is generally the case in the middle and eastern states, you may carry manure into the different quarters and spread it, repair fences, rub out and clean your seeds, prepare shreds, nails and twigs, for the wall and espalier trees, which are to be pruned in this and the next month; get all the garden-tools in repair, and purchase such as are wanting; provide from the woods a sufficient quantity of pea-rods, and poles for your Lima and other running beans; dress and point them, so as to be ready for use when wanted.
Here it may be well to remark, that many people who neglect to provide themselves with pea-rods at this season, when it can be so conveniently done, are necessitated, when the hurry of business overtakes them in spring, to sow their peas and let them trail on the ground ; in Which situation they will never produce, especially the tall growing kinds, one third as many as if they were properly rodded.
The various kinds of Early-Hotspur Peas, will require rods from four to five feet high, the Marrowfat, Glory of England, White and Green Rouncival, Spanish Morotto, and other tall growing kinds; will require them to be from six to seven fcet high, exclusive of the part to be inserted in the earth ; they ought to be formed or dressed fan fashion, the lower ends pointed, for the ease of pushing them into the earth, and laid by, either under some shed, or in any convenient place till wanted; one set of rods, will with care last for three years. The same kind of rods, that the tall growing peas require, will answer for the generality of running Kidney-Beans; the Lima-Beans require strong poles from eight to nine feet high.
If in this, and the next month, you neglect forwarding every thing that can possibly be done, in and for the garden, you will materially find the loss of such inattention, when the hurry and pressure of spring business overtake you. Every active and well inclined gardener will find abundant employment in the various departments of the garden at this season, and need not be idle, if disposed to be industrious, or to serve either himself or his employer.