It’s January! And with it comes a new and exciting growing season in the garden. True, March and April are months when things start happening, but nature is always up to something! New shoots are appearing and you might have even spotted the snowdrops and crocus making their way through. So, what can we do at this time while we wait for longer and warmer days?
IN THE GARDEN:
- If you haven’t already, consider bringing tender plants indoors, especially if they have been showing signs of growth. If you decide to leave them outside, gardeners protect them by straw, fleece or even bubble wrap around them. If you have a lot of pots, group them together next to a South-facing wall.
- Prune Wisteria, rose bushes and plant bare root roses.
- You can also cut back ornamental grasses and remove old stems of sedums.
- Wash down the greenhouse and gather leaves so drains remain unclogged.
IN THE KITCHEN GARDEN:
- Prune bushes such as gooseberries, blackcurrants and redcurrants.
- Prune fruit trees such as apples and pears.
- If you want to force your rhubarb, now is also the time to do that.
- Protect brassicas from pigeons and remove any yellowing leaves.
- Place cloches or plastic over the soil to start warming it up.
- Start chitting early potatoes. Not everyone thinks potatoes need chitting, but if you aren’t doing anything else and are starting to get that gardening itch, there’s no harm in trying it!
- If the ground isn’t frozen over, keep digging over the beds so they are ready for spring.
- You can still harvest parsnips and leeks during this time! Bonus!
- Keep on top early-germinating weeds. Simply using a hoe or rake as they appear will do the job.
- Any sowing you do now will most likely be undercover, if you do things differently, let us know in the comments!
- Sweet peas
- Onion seeds
- Swiss chard
- Although mistletoe is beneficial for wildlife, many consider it a parasitic plant. If you want some in the garden press some berries into the bark of an apple tree to establish your own plant.
- Here’s an idea we have come across recently “Winter-Sowing”. Coined by Trudi Davidoff, this system claims to help you get seedlings earlier in the year and, in turn, get stronger plants. Collect empty bottles of water or milk and make holes in the bottom and on the top. Cut the bottle about 1/3 of the way up, but do not cut it all the way around, leave the top attached by a couple of inches so it acts as a hinge. Fill the bottom 2-3inches with compost and sow your seeds. Reseal the top of the bottle with duct tape, and leave the bottles outside. The idea is that you will have seeds germinate earlier, but will not be spindly and some think they make stronger plants.
- Mist house plants regularly and stand them on a tray with pebbles and water.
- Wash empty pots with warm soapy water to eliminate nasties.
- Shred the Christmas tree and add it to the compost bin, or use it as mulch!
- Avoid walking on the lawn.
- If you have been so until now, keep putting out food and water for birds.
- Order your seeds!
- And plan your veg plot for the next growing season.
We hope you have found this list useful, and let us know if there is anything we have missed! We believe in sharing knowledge and experience in this little community of ours 🙂 Leave a comment below, or why not write in? You can find us over at firstname.lastname@example.org.