Gardening Jobs for January

Here we are at the start of another year and as we go into another national lockdown here in the UK us gardeners can take solace in the comfort of our gardens. This year, more than ever, our gardens will continue to be important sanctuaries for our mental health. We can see the light of the promise of spring not too far away, we can take heart in the inevitability that the days are slowly drawing out and there are signs of life in the borders as the spring bulbs start to push through. Watching the garden birds dart about looking for food is a particular welcome sight so we must ensure they have enough food to see them through. Some early snowdrops are already out and some daffodils are well on their way. Here’s a few jobs to do if you can get out.

Photo by Pixabay on
  1. Shake any snow off hedges and shrubs so stop them being weighed down and damaged. Make sure delicate plants have a thick coat of fleece around them, especially if frost is forecast. Be prepared to bring delicate pots in for the night if temperatures do suddenly drop.
  2. Keep the surface of ponds ice free by placing footballs on the surface or melting holes with the bottom of a pan containing hot water.
  3. Keep feeding the birds. Seeds and fat balls are particularly good and can be picked up quick cheaply.
  4. During any milder spells don’t be tempted to cut back any frost damaged plants, leave them be until the warmth of spring arrives. Leave dead or desiccated herbaceous plants as they are, should the cold weather return as it’s supposed to, they’ll provide snug havens for birds as well as providing seed and berries for food.
  5. Continue to remove leaves and debris from lawns but avoiding walking on them when they’re frozen or saturated and when spreading salt on garden paths be sure to avoid any adjoining grass, the salt will kill it outright!
  6. If and when you can, scrub decking and patio areas with a stiff brush to remove slime and prevent them from being slippery; use a propriety patio cleaner or a weak bleach solution. If you fancy it get the pressure washer out and give everything a pre-spring clean.
  7. Make sure greenhouse heaters are set at the right level and working correctly to prevent your most precious plants from freezing to death and turning to mush. Some areas have had power cuts so it’s worth checking that they’re functioning correctly. Use bubble wrap on the inside of the glass for extra insulation and keep your plants on the dry side, many plants will cope with cold and dry but cold and wet spells death for many.
  8. On beds and borders if the weather does allow then continue to dig in organic material, but avoid doing this if the ground is wet and heavy, you’ll cause more harm than good as it will compact the soil forcing out the air and making it more prone to waterlogging.
  9. If you are snowed in then now is the time to peruse those seed and plant catalogues and consider what you’d love to grow this year, perhaps a brand new introduction, a challenging delicate plant, new varieties of potato or perhaps flowers to cut for the house.
  10. Keep an eye on your house plants this time of year, provide maximum light, keep them on the dry side, except for azaleas that love to sit in water, keep them away from cold draughts and hot radiators and make sure the more delicate ones aren’t trapped in a pool of cold air behind curtains during the night.
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on

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