Garden Jobs for January – Preparing the way for Spring
Although the mere thought of gardening in this weather is enough to make you shiver and turn up the heating, now is the perfect time to take stock. If like us you feel overwhelmed at the work that needs to be done, concentrate on the following areas, layer up, and channel your inner Monty Don.
Focus on fruit trees. Clear away any damaged, diseased or straggly branches. Apples and pears do best when lots of light can reach the fruit, so prune to create an open, airy framework. New growth will sprout in spring from where you make your cuts, but bear in mind that none of it will bear fruit for a couple of years.
Plant tulips. Pop them in before the end of January and they’ll reward you with cheery colour this spring. If you plant them in a container they need good drainage because although resilient to cold, they will rot in damp soil.
Choose and order seeds for February sowing. Growing from seed is the cheapest way to fill your garden with plants and vegetables. Mail order catalogues are a font of information.
Hedge care. Trim straggly hedges, but only once birds have eaten the berries. Plant deciduous hedges by the end of February, evergreens can wait until April. Bare root roses, shrubs and ornamental trees can also be planted.
Remember the birds. Check bird baths and top up daily with fresh water. Put up bird boxes in sheltered spots, on tree trunks, sheds or walls, well before the nesting season begins in March. Trim back ivy, Virginia creeper and other climbers, again, before birds start nesting. Put out bird feed.
Maintenance jobs. Repair wobbly or damaged fences, and during dry spells treat wood with preservative. Give your lawn mower a basic service. Remove debris from shed and greenhouse guttering so rain can fill up your water butts.
Don’t get carried away. For now, leave some winter cover to provide protection for plants and insects from the coldest weather. Work on removing about half the summer’s growth, especially if it’s wet and soggy.
Are there any January gardening tips you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you via Facebook or Twitter.