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Your Garden Diary : January Garden

A new year arrives and don’t they come round quickly! It doesn’t seem five minutes since we were harvesting our summer crops! One thing is for sure, with all the autumn and early winter rain we’ve had, we shouldn’t expect any water shortages this year!

Let’s have a look at what we need to do in our January garden!


The Lawn in January


The best advice for your lawn in a wet or frosty January is to keep well clear of it!

It’s easy to damage the turf in these conditions, even just walking on it!

 


Time then to think of winter maintenance for your garden equipment be it mowers, strimmers etc.or garden hand tools and equipment.

You may want to take power tools to your local agent, (find your local Mountfield dealer here) but you can tackle many yourself with an old rasp to clear old grass stains prior to sharpening with a file and lubricating as necessary till the season commences.

 

The Flower Garden


Early sowings of some summer bedding plants such as geraniums, begonias and antirrhinums can be made, but I think it’s best left till February to avoid high fuel costs.

Alternatively, young plant plugs are an option, where purchasing ‘part-grown’ plants in Feb/Mar for you to grow on, is probably more ‘cost effective’ than heating your greenhouse in January.

 

 

It is a good time though to think ‘sweet peas’ if you did not autumn sow, choose your varieties from seed catalogues or garden centres to create large healthy plants from an early spring sowing.

Planting of winter flowering perennials can take place if the soil is not too wet.

Hardy favourites such as snowdrops and helleborus will be fine. The new varieties of hellebores with unique flower forms and colours are absolutely fabulous and a must for any garden!

Not happy on the position of a flowering perennial plant or plants that are a little overcrowded? You can move plants this month again if ground is frost-free.

Remember to ‘dead-head’ winter flowering plants such as pansies. It will prolong flowering.

Maybe you’ve stored the summer flowering tubers, bulbs and corms, lifted in autumn in the garage or greenhouse? Don’t forget to check regularly for any signs of rot and remove infected items immediately to stop rot spreading.

Lastly, don’t neglect the plants in garden ponds. Rotting leaves are not good for the pond, so remove them regularly, to keep the water clear throughout the winter.

 


Shrubs

 

It’s a great time to be planting ‘bare-root’, shrubs or trees if the soil is not frosted.

Being lifted ‘bare-root’ i.e. lifted from nursery soil and not grown in containers, they are very cost effective if you have many to plant.

January can be a busy time in your garden, dependant on your numbers of shrubs you have. The key task is hand pruning – a chilly task on a cold winters day! It’s a task though best completed before the plants sap begins to rise in the spring.

Many shrubs can be pruned towards the end of the month if the weather allows, but check them online first as various shrubs need pruning at various times.

 


The Vegetable Plot

 

Your winter vegetables that are in storage, (like your dahlias and begonias amongst the flowers), should be constantly examined for signs of rot or decay, removing any suspicious produce.

Continue harvesting winter brassicas, leeks or parsnips as required and the weather allows.

As soon as the weather improves, you can begin spreading well-rotted farm yard manure on unused parts of your vegetable patch.

Should you have spring cabbage in the vegetable patch, they may well be in need some ‘perking’ up after a long winter. Give them a feed with a nitrogenous fertilizer to begin their spring growth and produce succulent cabbage.

Time though to think about starting new vegetable seeds for 2024.

Winter leaf salads can be sown under cloches, in greenhouses or even on the kitchen window sill! Early tomatoes and bulb onions too!

New garlic bulbs can be planted now and through until spring, so take a look at those new seed catalogues. There are always new varieties to try!

 


The Fruit Patch

 

Should you be planning to plant up a fruit section, it’s the perfect time. Just check your spacings and order ‘bare-rooted’ top and soft fruit plants to plant whilst dormant.

Jan/Feb is the ideal time to begin pruning ‘top’ fruit like apples and pears.

The ideal tree form to aim for is ‘goblet’ shaped. Start by cutting out any damaged or diseased wood and then remove surplus shoots to keep the centre of the tree open.

You can also begin pruning ‘cane’ fruit such as blackcurrants, red/white currants and also gooseberries.

Promote an early rhubarb crop by choosing a suitable ‘specimen’ and covering with a large clay pot to force tasty, tender, succulent shoots.

 

January Garden round-up

 

Weather conditions may dictate how much time you spend in the garden in January, but there is still plenty to do.

Spend some time going through all the new seed and plant catalogues to see what’s knew.

 

Perhaps this is the year to start that garden diary. They can prove invaluable for future planning!

 

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