J A N U A R Y \ Gardening To Do’s

januaryThe new year has arrived! We have all over-gorged ourselves over the festive period and those age old resolutions are being reset. Our gardens lay dormant, sleeping as the frosts set in, but here are 10 top jobs that can be done this month to begin:

[1] Dig out those ever faithful garden tools and treat them to a good clean, oil and repair, if needed, readying them for action in the spring.

[2] If the weather eases enough for you to brave the elements carry on clearing paths and terraces of moss and leaves.

[3] Keep on digging over those beds and borders incorporating as much organic matter or fresh compost as you can. Not only will this will help promote healthy nutrient rich soil but also reduce pests as those cheeky Robin red breasts will be on hand to swoop down and eat up all they spy.

[4] January can be the toughest of months for our feathered friends with periods of icy cold weather making food hard to find. Sparing 5 minutes of a morning to make sure there is a little fresh water and a handful of quality bird food could make all the difference.

[5] Wisterias our now due for their second prune of the year to encourage a structured and spectacular floral display come May. Prune back all stems branching off the main framework down to 2-3 buds of the previous years growth.

[6] Keep Off The Grass! As much as possible avoid walking on your lawns as damage is easily inflicted whilst they are frost covered or waterlogged.

[7] Don’t let your planted containers dry out and if you haven’t done so already, raise any and all up onto pot feet to help protect them from the cold. This will prevent excess water freezing around the base of the container.

[8] Now is a great time to begin forcing rhubarb. Remove old and dead foliage from around the crown and then cover with a forcer or large up turned pot if you have one. Keep an eye out for flower buds and pinch them out to encourage stem growth. Can’t wait for that first bowl of fresh rhubarb crumble? Then encourage super growth by surrounding the base of the forcer with horse manure. If you haven’t any rhubarb in your garden, get yourself down to your local garden centre where rhubarb crowns should be on sale now.

[9] Begin chitting first early seed potatoes by standing them in egg trays or similar in a light, frost free place. The early bird catches the worm and first early spuds will be ready for planting out in March!

[10] Finally , while on the subject of veg, now is a perfect time to sit down, with a cuppa in the warm, and plan you crop rotation for the season. Indoor sowing can begin of those early crops such as lettuce, spinach, onions, cabbage, cauliflower and broad beans.