Gardening in January: What to do and what to plant?

 
Gardening in January: What to do and what to plant?

Whether it’s your new year resolution to start gardening or you’re a seasoned gardener, here are some tasks you may want to add to your to-do list this month.

Things to do in your garden in January:

  • Prune apple and pear trees – Trim old branches into an open goblet shape with five main branches to ensure a good crop. This will increase ventilation and improve yield, make sure you remove dead, damaged and diseased branches
  • Prune your roses – Prune rose bushes while they’re dormant, remove dead or diseased wood and any branches that cross. Prune the stems just above a bud
  • Start forcing rhubarb – Prepare for an early harvest of tender rhubarb by covering crowns with a layer of straw and then placing a clay forcing pot on top, or even an old bucket, to exclude the light and create a smooth crisp texture
  • Keep warm and plan ahead – When the weather is foul, stay indoors and look through seed catalogues. Head into your greenhouse and wash out pots, write plant labels and sort out your seeds for the coming year. This is also a good time to clean and sharpen secateurs and other tools
  • Prepare the soil – Make the most of calm, dry spells to dig over any untouched areas of the garden so that large clods of soil can be broken down by frost. Look for the roots of perennial weeds and remove them carefully
  • Feed the birds – Look out for garden birds by ensuring feeders are well stocked and fresh water is available. Put out seeds and fresh water for the birds especially when the temperatures drop
  • Make mulch – Shred your Christmas tree and place the shreddings in a pile to ferment before using as a mulch later in the year
  • Collect water – If you’re yet to set up a rainwater collection system, now may be the time to plan one and take advantage of the spring showers to come. Install a water collector or a perforated pipe or drip system if you do not have the space to capture rainwater. With increasingly dry summers and hotter heatwaves, it may come in handy…

What seeds to sow in your garden in January:

  • Indoors – Spring lettuces, leeks, radish, early varieties of cauliflower and carrots can be started
  • Outdoors – If your garden benefits from milder temperatures, you can start sowing spinach, broad beans and peas. You might be able to plant potatoes that you will be able to harvest early, and you can start sowing aromatics such as chives, tarragon, thyme, sage. Depending on the ground you could also try onion, garlic and shallots

What to harvest in your garden in January:

  • It’s time to harvest winter cabbage and leeks, parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and celery

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