Hello to all you hardy gardeners who like to enjoy the outdoors doing something worthwhile and wondering what jobs to do in the garden in January.
January hails the start of the year. Time for reflection and making plans for the year ahead.
There is always some task to do to keep ourselves busy. After the recent festivities you may be ready to spend time in your garden and take in some fresh air.
January is a very lean month for our plants and not a great deal is happening, that we can see anyway. There is plenty going on below ground, spring bulbs are starting to push their way to the surface and some trees and shrubs already have the tiniest of buds.
You might be seeing some life from snowdrops, aconites, crocus, they will brave the cold to show us the very first signs of green.
So even though on some days it all looks bleak and grey, Nature is doing her very special thing as always. Which of course means she is giving us jobs to do in the garden.
To add further interest to your winter garden see 20 colourful plants for winter interest in your garden for inspiration
Depending on where you are in the world your garden may well be under snow and ice, which looks very pretty of course but it means our green fingers are itching to find something to work on.
If your garden is free from snow, wrap up warm and get outdoors to enjoy the winter magic it affords.
What Jobs To Do In The Garden In January – Beds And Borders
There are a number of jobs to get on with in the beds and borders in January.
Keeping the weeds at bay is always a key task to maintain neatness and to make sure your plants are not fighting for nutrients and water.
Dig over any unused beds in either the garden or vegetable plot in preparation for spring planting. Digging helps to prevent soil compaction and aerates it.
It is also a job that will keep you warm.
Cut back perennial grasses to tidy them up and stimulate new spring growth. Also, tidy up any other perennials if you have not yet done so. Cut away dead stems and leaves but be careful not to damage any new growth.
Fork over the soil afterwards to help prevent compaction.
Deadhead any winter flowering plants such as pansies and primulas or any others that are in beds, containers or hanging baskets in order to prolong their flowering.
What Do I Prune In January?
Apple and Pear trees are pruned in winter, between November and March.
Do this as safely as possible in terms of ladder safety. A sharp, clean pair of secateurs and a pruning saw are required.
Aim to take out dead or diseased branches.
Prune back about 10-20% of the canopy leaving an overall, even shape.
Reduced some of the middle branches to allow a good air flow through the trees.
Wood that is up-to 4 years old is what fruits best.
Don’t be too drastic, a small amount of wood pruned each year is the best way to keep your trees healthy and productive.
Prune wisteria and roses while they are still dormant. January is a good time for these satisfying pruning tasks.
Trees and Shrubs for Winter Colour will provide you with ideas for new planting in your gardens.
What Vegetables Can I Grow In January?
Start to chit potato seeds ready for planting the first early crop.
First early potatoes can be grown in containers under cover.
Tomatoes and Aubergine can be sown now under cover.
So too can:
- Winter salad leaves
Sow peas in trays in late January and onions in modules, both are perfectly fine started indoors with a little warmth to germinate and then they can be moved to the greenhouse.
Broad beans can be planted directly outside in mild areas if the soil isn’t frozen or waterlogged. Otherwise sow in pots in a cool greenhouse or cold frame.
Pop a bucket or terracotta pot/rhubarb pot over rhubarb plants to force an early crop.
What Can I Plant In January?
To add some winter interest to your outdoor space read Plants for Winter Colour.
Bare root roses and fruit trees can be planted from November to January providing the soil is workable, not waterlogged or frozen.
Bare root fruit bushes can be planted now, as with the roses, if the ground is workable, for example:
- Black currant
Flowers To Sow In January
All the following flower seeds can be sown this month under cover to give you a head start for spring. In a greenhouse or windowsill is ideal or you can use a propagator.
- Sweet peas
If you chose to have a real Christmas tree with roots, take it outside as soon after you have removed all the decor. It won’t be happy indoors, stand it outside in its pot and give it a good drink of water. In spring, it can be planted or re-potted.
If you are not planning on keeping it or it isn’t rooted then you can shred it to use as a mulch.
Shred any other foliage that you used for decor and compost it.
Keep on top of weeding. Patios, driveways, and paths in particular need to be weed free to stop them looking untidy. Continue clearing leaves and other garden debris from paved areas to prevent paths from becoming slippery. Once leaves etc are wet they soon start to break down and become muddy and unsightly. The electric Weed Burner is an environmentally friendly way of tackling weeds.
If you haven’t already done so, clean pots and trays ready for new planting and seeds. Clean and carry out any repairs to greenhouses, sheds and other outbuildings.
If you are growing seeds or plants that need winter protection in the greenhouse, check regularly that heating systems are working correctly. Ventilate the greenhouse on mild, sunny days. Here’s my article for the Best Small Greenhouse Heaters.
Clean and treat/paint fences, arches or pergolas.
Paved areas, patios, wooden decking and walkways will benefit from cleaning too Dirt, moss and algae builds up on surfaces during the winter months and if not dealt with are likely to become a slip hazard. I have found Sika Mould Buster to be the best product for the job.
Check that winter plant protection is secure and in place.
After bad weather; storms, heavy rain or snow, make sure that fleece or hessian frost protection is still tied well. Also, make sure that plant supports are secure and that plants have not become untied. Climbing plants particularly need good support through the winter weather.
Brush snow from greenhouses and cold-frames to prevent the weight of it from breaking the glass.
Brush snow off of shrubs, hedges and conifers, it can cause frost damage and/or snap branches.
Don’t walk on waterlogged, frosted or snowed lawns as this will damage the grass.
However on mild days re-edge lawns at borders, beds and around trees. Giving a sharp, clean edge to lawns that is about 8cm deep will keep the lawn edges looking crisp and tidy and will also stop grass from growing into the borders.
This is a job best done while plant growth in the beds is at a minimum, you can see what you’re doing better.
Check that tubers you are overwintering such as dahlias, cannas and begonia are still in good condition and not rotted or dry.
Planting Preparation For The Future
Order seeds and autumn flowering bulbs.
Order fruit bushes and fruit trees ready for planting.
Order second early and main crop potato seeds.
Think about the plants you would like to grow this year, Order any that are in stock now. Clematis and spring plants such as fuchsia and geraniums are all in stock now ready for spring delivery. For inspiration read my article on Plants For spring colour
Propagate new plants by doing hardwood cuttings, find out how to with my step by step guide. Hardwood Cuttings Technique
Deep winter is a time that we generally start to think about our spring or summer holidays. Nothing better on a rainy day than perusing holiday ideas. Take a look at some of the world’s most beautiful garden destinations at WineandWisteriaTravel
So you see, there is plenty to do in your gardens this month or in the greenhouse.
Jobs to give you a head start for spring and maintenance tasks too.
If you have any questions or views on anything in this article then do please leave comments below and I will reply.
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