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Gardening jobs for January

A new year and new problems! No sooner than Covid seems to be under some degree of control then we have an economic crisis! So we enter the new year with our national press reminding us of that famous second world war policy of  ‘Grow Your Own!’ to cut costs. More of that later, but for now, let’s take a look at what we need to do in the garden in January.



What should I do with my lawn in January? Well, should the harsh winter weather continue as at the time of writing, then the good news is ‘absolutely nothing!’ You will only damage the grass by walking on it in frosty conditions!


Should the weather be mild then you can repair lawn edges and finish your autumn maintenance programme if not yet completed.


In the Flower Garden

A new year begins and you can get an early start by sowing your sweet peas in the greenhouse if you did not manage to sow them in autumn.

Information on many catalogues and seed packets will be advocating early sowings of geraniums, antirrhinum etc. but I would suggest delaying a few weeks, your young plants will catch up and who can afford to heat the greenhouse this early nowadays!

‘Dead head’ winter flowering pansies as necessary. It will help the plants establish and keep them flowering through to the spring.


You can be planting winter flowering perennials such as helleborus and snowdrops at this time if conditions allow. It’s wonderful to see their cheerful, colourful flowers in the depths of winter.

Remember to check stored bulbs, tubers, corms etc. for any signs of disease or rot and discard if necessary.

Don’t forget your plants in garden ponds, make it a regular task to clear out rotting leaves and keep the water clear through the winter.


Shrubs & Roses

Like our apple trees, January is the ideal month for pruning many of our garden shrubs before the sap starts to rise in early spring. (Identify your plants and check online to find the ideal pruning time for each species.) Most roses, be it bush or climbing can be pruned at this time.

Check your climbing plants, cutting away too much heavy growth and check your growing supports. It’s going to get windy!

Like pruning, it’s a great time for planting bare root shrubs – as long as the ground is not frosty.

Perhaps you are lacking colour in the borders at this time? Consider planting a viburnum or mahonia which flower at this time. If you have a large bare area, perhaps you could plant a few cornus with their attractive bark in various colours.


The Vegetable Plot

Harvesting the winter vegetables continues despite the weather, be it brassicas, parsnips, or winter leeks. It all saves you money!

As for your stored vegetables, like your flower bulbs, check for signs of disease and remove affected items immediately, to prevent further damage.

Garlic can be planted right through to early spring. Consult your gardening catalogues, there are some super new varieties to choose from!

In late January/February, give your spring cabbage a feed with a nitrogenous fertilizer to encourage leaf growth for spring harvest.

Sow winter leaf salads in the greenhouse or under cloches. While you are seed sowing, if you want to grow giant onions, then now is the time to sow them!

If the weather allows, start spreading well-rotted farmyard manure on empty sections of the vegetable garden.



The Fruit Patch

Fruit is very much in vogue at present if my mailbox is to be believed – more evidence of ‘grow your own’ increasing again! 

It’s the ideal time to prune so-called ‘top fruit’ like apples and pears, so wrap up well and get out there! Basically, cut out any damaged or diseased wood and remove surplus shoots to keep the middle of the tree open, ideally, prune to a ‘goblet’ shape.

In the soft fruit area, prune ‘cane fruit’ such as gooseberries and those from the ‘currant’ family, blackcurrants etc.

Should you be just starting a fruit garden, now is the time to order bare-rooted ‘top’ and ‘soft’ fruit plants to plant whilst dormant.

You can have early rhubarb in the garden by covering a plant with a large clay pot or another container to force tasty, tender shoot production!


Greenhouse, Shed, and Garden Equipment

Remove settled snow from greenhouse rooves and garden frames – you don’t want broken panes! On the plus side, it will clean the glass as you brush it off! Likewise, brush heavy snowfall from hedges and branches to prevent damage.

In the shed, take the opportunity to clean, sharpen and oil garden tools.

During milder spells, clean out water butts and wash pots and trays to ensure a clean start to the growing season.


Happy New year!

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