1: What to do in the Garden in January

Welcome to January, from now on the days will start to get longer and you and your garden will be raring to go for the long-awaited spring. 

Typically, January is one of the coldest and windiest of months – it’s not impossible to see a sprinkling of snow either. Now a good time to sort out the shed or greenhouse if you haven’t yet, grey days are perfect for sorting, tidying and cleaning in anticipation for the new gardening year. 

It’s important to check any plants that are currently in cold frames and to remove any dead flowers or leaves that could cause grey mould. Don’t forget to make you have frost protection fleece and or coverings in place! 

Get to know your soil, what better way to understand your garden than by taking some time getting to know your soil; testing your soil’s pH is easy and can be done in just a few minutes with a Soil Test kit. Knowing your soil type will help you to choose plants that compliment your soil. Luckily, there are ways of improving your soil to accommodate the plants you would like to grow that don’t suit your current soil type. 

Perhaps you’re a beginner gardener and your New Year’s resolution is to get out into the garden or you’re a seasoned gardener looking for some advice and inspiration for the month ahead, whatever you’re looking for we have everything you’ll need to start the new year with a bit of garden therapy!

Ornamental Garden:

  • If the ground is waterlogged, then keep off the soil to avoid compaction.
  • If snow falls, do not let the snow sit on the shrubs, gently shake off to prevent damage.
  • Prune bush or standard Apples and Pears, aiming to create an open framework of about 5 main branches.
  • Take root cuttings from perennials for new growth in time for spring.
  • Sweet peas can be sown this month and those sown in the autumn can be potted on. Place them in a sunny greenhouse, cold frame or windowsill.
  • Plan annual cut flowers for the borders.
  • Mulch borders if not already done in autumn.
  • Plant deciduous hedges.
  • Move deciduous trees and shrubs if necessary.
  • Ensure protective coverings, such as fleece or mulch, have remained in place over frost tender plants.
  • Avoid walking on turf when the grass is covered with frost or is waterlogged.

Vegetable Garden:

  • Protect brassicas from Pigeons with cloches, netting or fleece.
  • Harvest Winter veg such as Parsnip, Swede, Sprouts, Leeks and Turnip.
  • Remove one-third of the oldest stems of Blackcurrants at ground level to encourage new basal shoots.
  • Plan this year’s crop rotation, aim to grow each crop in a different bed to last years to avoid the risk of disease.
  • Start chitting seed Potatoes.
  • Cut back apples and pears by a third to remove any dead or weak growth.

Other jobs to do in the garden in January:

  • Ventilate the greenhouse regularly to avoid moisture build-up.
  • Keep birdfeeders and bird baths topped up.
  • Clean pots and seed trays.
  • Check tree stakes and ties.
  • Inspect tools and sharpen secateurs.
  • Clean plant labels. 
  • Check compost bins for excess moisture and turn regularly. 
  • Provide food for birds and wildlife and keep bird baths topped up with fresh water.
  • Organise seed collections and start planning your garden layout for the year ahead.
  • Order new seeds to sow.