January can be the coldest month in the year so you need to make sure that your plants, garden and greenhouse have adequate protection from frosts, heavy rain, snow fall or gale force winds.
If you had a real Christmas tree rather than throw it away you could shred it up to make mulch for your garden or to add to your compost bin.
Those bulbs which you forced to flower indoors over Christmas can now be allowed to dry off ready for storage until next Christmas.
Get Your Greenhouse In Shape
Even though it’s only January we might still get some sunny days so make sure you have an easy way of ventilating your greenhouse on the warmer days – a louvre vent in your greenhouse is ideal at this time of year as it lets in fresh air without letting out too much warmed air. This type of ventilation will also help to reduce the build up of fungal infections.
Whilst we consider fungal infections in your greenhouse, it’s also important that the spread of disease and pests is kept as low as possible – a neat, tidy and clean greenhouse will reduce the build up of disease. Make sure that any dead leaves and any debris are regularly removed from plants and greenhouse. Make sure surfaces are clean using a dilute solution of Citrox – whilst you’re wiping down benches, shelves and greenhouse walls you should also wash plant pots and seeds trays. As you keep your greenhouse clean, if you find any insects living within your greenhouse treat accordingly – a Sulphur Candle or Smoke Generator lets you do this with ease.
It’s important that the heater in your greenhouse is working efficiently – by the purchase of a simple maximum-minimum thermometer you can accurately monitor the highs and lows of your greenhouse temperature. If you are heating your greenhouse it’s also best to insulate it as well – as this will keep the heat within your greenhouse for longer so reducing heating costs – our Heatsheet Insulation is easy to fix and will last several seasons. Whilst insulating your greenhouse check that all the panes are intact – use all weather tape to cover any cracks – and all the retaining clips are in place, replacing ones which have disappeared.
If we do see snow during December / January then where possible it’s best to remove it from the roof of your greenhouse – it’s surprising how much light a coating of snow can cut out! And whilst your clearing away snow, also check that guttering is clear from any debris – that applies as much to your house guttering as it does your greenhouse guttering. The Gardena Gutter Cleaning System is incredibly popular at this time of year as it helps you to easily keep guttering clear.
It’s also a good idea to empty and clean water butts whilst you don’t need the water they are holding and this means you’re got an empty butt ready to collect any fresh rainwater.
Keep Your Garden Looking Good
Fruit & Vegetables
There is nothing better than fresh rhubarb from your own garden – this is the time to start forcing it for a sweet, bumper crop. If you haven’t got a rhubarb forcer then an upturned bucket or bin will do the job. After covering the plants you should be able to pick stems to eat in about 8 weeks time.
Prepare your fruit trees and fruit bushes. You can prune apple and pear trees now, however, you shouldn’t be pruning all your fruit trees – apricots, cherries and plum trees should be left until summertime, pruning now could make them susceptible to silver leaf infections. Fruit bushes which can be pruned include blackcurrants, gooseberries, redcurrants and whitecurrants – removing any old stems to prevent over-crowding. If you haven’t got any raspberry bushes January is a good time to add them to your garden.
At this time of year your vegetable garden may be looking a little bare! Produce that you should be able to grow and harvest now include kale, leeks, parsnips, sprouts, swedes and winter brassicas.
The main activity at this time of year should be planning for the year a head’s crops. If you want to be able to harvest early peas then cover the area where they would be sown to increase soil temperature – a simple Tunnel Cloche would do this perfectly. After just a couple of weeks warming the soil you will be able to proceed and sow the peas.
You can also go ahead and start chitting early potatoes – we’ve found empty egg boxes or trays are perfect for this activity and allow you to recycle as you grow! If you’re keen to start planting you could have some very early potato crops if you start some off in containers and planters – Charlotte potatoes are a favoured variety for this activity. Ideally bring the containers into your greenhouse to protect them from cold night temperatures.
If you’re keen to start growing there are some seeds that can be sown now, such as aubergines, summer maturing cauliflower and tomatoes. You’ll need to start them off in an electric propagator so they get the heat they require to germinate – the Window Sill Propagator is ideal. You can also sow onion seeds – although these don’t need to be sown in a heated propagator.
If you’ve got roses growing within your garden now is the perfect time to prune them whilst they are dormant – a clean cut just above a bud using some sharp secateurs is best. At the same time remove any dead leaves and branches. If you want to increase the number of roses in your garden then this is a good time to plant bare root roses.
Those garden plants which may be in flower – such as Hellebores – can be enjoyed more if you remove any dead leaves or blooms, whilst winter pansies can be kept flowering for longer by removing any faded flowers.