Gardening Tasks for January
Darlings it’s no secret that I have a slightly unhealthy obsession with buying far more seeds than I’ll ever be able to grow, and at this time of year I’m just itching to get out into the greenhouse and start sowing them, but patience is needed! It’s not quite time to sow my kitchen garden veg, but there’s plenty we can be getting on with in the garden during January. Here are my top tips on things you can get started with this month!
1 – Plan out your seed sewing
I use the winter to plan out my sewing for the year. I have a great seed book in which I have the seeds organised by which month to sew them. Or you can try this Seed Organisation Box I found on Amazon. So, I start with planning out what will be sewn each month, for example strawberries in March and radishes in June, and organise my seeds accordingly. Try reading RHS Gardening Through the Year for more details of what to plant when. Next I think about the organisation of my raised beds.
Whether you have a large kitchen garden or some pots on your windowsill, it’s a good idea to plan out what will go where – for example, it’s an idea to plant mint in a separate container (otherwise it will take over the plants near it!), and think about how the sun hits your garden, and therefore where to put sun-loving plants vs shade-loving plants. It’s also a great idea to think about rotating the location of your various varieties of vegetable each year, as it helps prevent disease build-up.
2 – Start collecting loo-roll tubes
Here’s a great & sustainable tip – save your loo-roll tubes for planting peas and beans. Peas and beans have long roots, meaning they need to be placed in a deep container. Luckily, loo-roll tubes are the perfect depth! Simply place each roll standing up in a tray, fill each roll with compost and place two seeds into each roll. I love tips like this because they can save money & involve re-using something that would otherwise end up in my recycling bin. When you come to planting your peas and beans in late spring, you’ll be glad of your loo-roll stash! Plus, unlike plastic plant pots or root trainers, you can plant the entire loo roll complete with the seedling once the outside temperatures are warm enough; the loo roll will decompose in the soil. This is perfect, as it means little to no root disturbance!
3 – Tidy up those beds!
As long as the ground isn’t frozen solid, January can be a great month for tidying up your beds. First remove any weeds and remaining plant debris from the previous growing season. If you have a compost bin, you can put the waste in there. Next, add some Organic Mulch to the soil. Mulch has many purposes – it improves the soil quality, helps the soil retain moisture, and it helps your garden look neat and tidy. You can also place mulch around your plants to help protect their roots through the cold winter.
4 – Clean & organise your greenhouse
The dull month of January is the perfect time to get your greenhouse organised and ready for the planting season. You may want to book in the window cleaners to get the glass sparkling clean (or you may want to leave this until spring!).
You’ll certainly want to get the inside sorted – brush away the spider webs, sweep the compost off the floors, and clear out any supplies which have gone-off, or which are no longer useful to you. Cleaning your greenhouse and your tools is not only a way to make your growing environment more lovely, but it also minimises the risk of diseases that could affect your young seedlings.
5 – Take stock of your tools
Much like the previous suggestion, this tip is all about getting prepared for the upcoming planting season. Gather together your tools & perform some light maintenance on any that need it (cleaning, getting rid of rust, sharpening, etc) and then think about where the gaps lie in your collection. Perhaps you need a new Spade, a new Watering Can or a new Weeding Hoe.
6 – Prune, and prune some more!
It is mostly fruit trees and fruit bushes which require pruning in January. Prune apples, pears, raspberries, gooseberries, quince, and currants. Pruning is an important part of fruit-tree care, as it ensures that your precious fruit trees will stay productive for years to come. If your fruit trees look like a mess of branches or they aren’t producing delicious fruit, it is probably a sign that they need a good prune.
So, it’s not a huge to-do list for January, it’s mainly about planning and prepping for the growing season ahead. Don’t forget, you don’t need a snazzy greenhouse or big garden to enjoy growing; a trio of pretty pots on your windowsill is a great place to start. This year, I’m planning on growing Micro Herbs for the first time; and I’ll keep these in the kitchen so that I can regularly add them onto everything from my morning eggs, to delicious soups.