Welcome to the New Year and the start of the next gardening season!
Hopefully, many of you will be thinking up some gardening resolutions and as your garden is at its most dormant there’s plenty of time to plan for spring.
January is a month for taking stock, getting ready for the coming season and generally trying to keep warm. Nothing has started growing yet and there is very little to do in the way of sowing. However, January is full of hope and it won’t be long before the growing season will be gathering speed so this is a great time to check that your soil, your tools and seed store are in tip-top condition ready for the busy months ahead.
Jobs For January
Sowing and Planting
Start to plan ahead by looking at seed catalogues and garden designs for inspiration. What better time to try something new!
If you are lucky enough to have workable ground you can still plant bare root trees, fruit bushes and hedges this time of year. Bare root roses establish easily if they are planted now, just remember to prune them back to prevent wind rock and encourage new growth from the base.
This month is usually a quiet time for working on flower beds and borders as most herbaceous plants are dormant at this time of year.
But you could:
- Tidy up herbaceous borders by removing dead foliage and cutting away any decayed vegetation.
- Plant lilies this month.
- Germinate half-hardy annual seeds under cover.
- Inspect bulbs, dahlia tubers and gladiolus corms that have been stored away for the winter
Fruit and Vegetables
It’s time to harvest your winter vegetables this month. If you’ve over-indulged with them over the Christmas season, use your vegetables to make wonderfully warm soups.
- It’s time to sow salad leaves, bulb onions, sprouting seeds and start growing those greenhouse tomatoes!
- Harvest the last of your winter vegetables – If you didn’t choose to harvest your parsnips and add them to your Christmas dinner, you can dig them up whenever you like this month. Artichokes, Brussels sprouts, winter cabbage, carrots and leeks also need to be harvested this month.
- Check on any stored fruit and vegetables to make sure they don’t show any signs of decay. Remove all bad fruit and vegetables, separate any left over to reduce the spread of disease and increase air flow.
- Dig some manure into your beds
- Order your seed Potatoes ready for chitting next month
- Trim back Sage to give it a new lease of life
- Winter prune Apples, Pears, Currants, Blackberries and Raspberries
Learn how to grow raspberries with this video guide. Growing raspberries is easy and you’ll be rewarded with lots of tasty fruit from just a few plants.
- Force Rhubarb
- Sow Spring Cabbage, hardy Lettuce and Broad beans in the cold-frame
- Sow early Carrots and more Garlic in situ under cloches
- Clean your tools
- Keep adding kitchen waste to your Runner Bean trench
The weather may be deterring you from venturing outside to prune your garden, but don’t worry – it can wait for a week or two but winter pruning needs to be done before the first signs of spring!
January is a great month to prune most deciduous trees and shrubs. Fruit trees can be pruned at this time but be careful not to prune spring flowering plants.
This is a video tutorial about how to prune apple trees – there are two parts to this tutorial.
- Find out what plants will flourish best in your soil by testing the ph levels and finding out what type of soil you have in your garden.
- It’s time to sharpen and clean the blades on secateurs and knives to ensure that they’re ready for action next spring.
- Keep up with fixing odd things around the garden and give your sheds and greenhouses a clear out of all dead or dying plants and generally clear that clutter!
- Remember that tidying removes hiding places for slugs and snails reducing their numbers next summer.
- Keep protecting your plants from wind rock and keep those pots and containers wrapped up!
- Your garden furniture is also at risk, cover furniture with polythene sheeting to protect it from becoming damp and possibly rusty.
- Your birds are at risk this time of year- Remember to replenish and add water for birds to drink out of throughout the winter. Watch out for bird nests when pruning. Many gardeners assume that birds aren’t hungry when they look plump; birds actually fluff up their feathers to minimize the loss of heat from their bodies when they are seriously hungry.
- Keep your soil covered – for the next few months any bare patches of soil should be covered in leaf mould or mulch. Mulch requires very little work, and is great for applying to the roots of established or flowering plants.
Most of all – Happy gardening in 2014!