The new year is here. Now is the time to plan what you want to do in the this year while out gardening in January. With January being cold and, in some areas, covered in snow, it can be tempting to stay inside curled up next to a warm fire.
What To Do Now
There are still plenty of jobs to do in the garden in January. Checking your plant supports and ties are still in good condition after the winter weather. Preparing the greenhouse ready for the growing season are a great reason to get out into the garden.
Continue to put out food for the birds and fresh water.
- Avoid walking on the lawn if it is wet or frost covered.
- Continue to clear away fallen leaves.
Lawn maintenance is still important when gardening in January but avoid walking on the lawn when it is wet or covered in frost. The grass is fragile at this time of year and can be crushed under foot. Leaves and fallen debris from winter winds still need to be cleared off the lawn to avoid weeds and moss having the ideal conditions to take root. A gentle brushing of the lawn on dry days will benefit your lawn greatly and spiking the area with a garden fork will improve drainage in waterlogged parts of the lawn.
Beds and Borders
- Now is the perfect time to prune roses while they are still dormant.
- Bare root shrubs and trees can be planted now.
- Tidy up and deadhead any late blooming perennials.
- Deadhead winter flowering pansies and cyclamen to encourage more flowers.
- Protect tender plants from the frost and snow.
- Dig over flower beds, mixing in good quality compost.
- Mulch beds and borders to protect the soil and plant roots.
Keeping beds and borders tidy while gardening in January is not only a good way to improve the look of the garden, have a reason to potter about outside in the fresh air, it is also important for the health of your plants. Digging over empty beds to expose garden pests and weeds is easy to do while there is less growth in the garden beds. Digging over the soil will also aerate the beds while mixing in a good nutritious compost mix.
Deadhead and tidy up winter flowering perennials to encourage more blooms throughout January. Prune roses and wisteria and plant bare root trees such as fruit trees, nut trees, willow and flowering varieties like magnolia.
- Harvest parsnips and leeks.
- Tidy up spent leaves on winter brassicas.
- Prepare the ground for when the weather warms and the sowing season can begin.
While there is little to do in the vegetable garden in January now is the ideal time to dig over empty beds to prepare the garden for the planting season. Digging over the beds will expose pests in the soil where the garden wildlife can hungrily feast on the pests providing a nice natural pest control.
Tidying up spent vegetation is important to avoid diseases entering the soil and creating conditions for weeds and pests to thrive.
This is the season for picking brassica. Cabbages, brussels sprouts and spinach can be harvested now. Beetroot, parsnips and artichokes should be ready to pick.
Weeds and Pests
- Remove any weeds that have survived the winter weather.
- Remove fallen leaves and spent foliage so pests cannot shelter under vegetation.
Check that ponds have not frosted over. Break the ice to help the wildlife.
Winter is a tough time for wildlife. We can help them while out gardening in January by putting food out for the birds and topping up freshwater containers. Birds benefit from fat blocks at this time of year which can be easily brought in shops or by making your own fat blocks using natural fats, nuts and seeds. Planting vegetation which wildlife can shelter in during the cold winter months is also a great way to help wildlife. A simple bush such as holly provides protection and food. Compost heaps create warm environments for frogs, toads and insects.
Melting a hole in garden ponds will help with the eco system of pond life and give other garden wildlife access to fresh water and insects. It is important to melt a hole rather than crack the ice which can harm the wildlife which lives in garden ponds.
There are lots of jobs that can be done in the garden, so wrap up warm and enjoy the fresh January air while you potter around your garden and plan out all the wonderful botanical displays that will spring to life and bloom in your garden throughout the coming new year.