The festive season is almost over, and a new year is about to begin. Gardeners are itching to get back to their patch and begin preparations for the year ahead – so here are our top tips for January gardening.
Despite much of the country seeing snowfall, the weather in the South West has been mainly wet! The soil is soft enough to dig so now is a good time to plant trees, bushes and bare root shrubs. Bare root roses planted now will pave the way to a wonderful display of colour and fantastic scents in the summer months.
The wet weather means you can dig over your beds and borders – the earlier you can do this, the better it is for your future planting. You may be dodging rain showers for some days to come, so wet weather gear is a definite requirement – and use a plank if you need to walk on a bed. Remember to dig matter when you’re digging; well-rotted manure or a good compost. This will improve the soil condition for your early planting. If you are planning on growing vegetables, you can cover the beds in clear polythene or fleece to help them warm up – there may be frosts on the way so this won’t be a wasted effort.
Even with the milder temperatures we are experiencing it is better if you have a heated greenhouse in case of frosts. If you do, you can start off annuals – you will gain a longer flowering season this way. Some vegetables can also be started, including summer brassicas and spinach.
If you don’t have a heated greenhouse, broad beans are likely to do well anyway. You can also make use of indoor window space to start off some seedlings.
January is a good month to get the secateurs out and it can be very satisfying work. Now is the time to prune fruit trees including apples and pears, prune currants and gooseberries – especially new bushes or cordons. You can also prune rose bushes. Cut back just above buds, and remove dead branches.
Hellebores always add interest to the January garden – if you cut away bigger and older leaves you will help new growth, and increase the attractiveness of the plant.
This is a good month to have a general tidy. Your shed is always a good place to start. If you have lots of plastic pots, you can bring these back to Otter Garden Centres for recycling.
Start your new year fitness regime and grab a rake to clear the leaves from your lawn! This will help your grass to recover quicker. Lawns on clay soil may be waterlogged from the recent downpours. Don’t worry too much as they will recover once the rains stop.
Happy new year – enjoy your gardening!