January might be the middle of winter but as the days lengthen the garden starts to grow. Now is a great time to plan for the coming gardening year and to order seeds and plants. Enjoy the fresh air, on dry sunny days, and check your winter protection, stakes, ties and supports are still working after any severe weather. Also put out food for birds and leave some garden areas uncut, a little longer, to provide shelter for wildlife in your garden.
Top 10 jobs this month
- Recycle your Christmas tree by shredding it for mulch
- Clean pots and greenhouses ready for spring – a great job when being outside doesn’t seem so inviting.
- Dig over any vacant plots that have not been dug already – only do this if you have a light, sandy soil – clay is best dug over in autumn.
- Disperse worm casts in lawns on dry days – don’t attempt on waterlogged ground as you may just make the lawn worse.
- Inspect stored tubers of Dahlia, Begonia and Canna for rots or drying out
- Prune apple and pear trees – it’s best to prune the tree when it doesn’t have its leaves. Follow the RHS guide here
- Start forcing rhubarb. Cover the crown with a traditional forcing jar, bucket or upturned pot in late winter, ensuring that all light is blocked out. Cover drainage holes in pots with a brick or stones. When stems reach the top of the container, they are ready for harvesting.
- Plan your vegetable crop rotations for the coming season
- Keep putting out food and water for hungry birds. As well as making a significant contribution to supporting these animals over winter, it is also a great way to watch wildlife
- Make a polythene shelter for outdoor peaches and nectarines, to protect against peach leaf curl