What's happening in the garden now...
The page below lists the various tasks that Ben and the team will be completing in the garden this month. Split into four main sections the lists will hopefully help you structure and plan your own gardening work schedule... so lets get busy
As the days slowly begin to grow longer, the garden gently wakes from its slumber. However, January is a busy month for the gardener and a time to complete a lot of preparation before the growing season starts. From winter pruning and planting, to ordering seed and organising the shed, there is a job to suit every type of weather. However, show caution not to get too carried away as it is still early in the year and freezing temperatures are never far away!
Continue to prune roses; checking and re-tying any that are trained on walls or supports.
Go through seed lists and catalogues, ordering new stock whilst planning what to sow when.
Collect up any untidy leaves, adding to the heap for the production of next year’s leaf mould.
Look at remedial pruning of trees: lifting canopies and removing dead and diseased wood to enhance the appearance and health. (Leave Prunus varieties tell late spring or early summer to avoid risk of fungal infections such as Silverleaf).
Rake, weed and tidy paths to give the garden an instant ‘pick me up’.
Keep a very watchful eye out for Box Blight if the weather turns mild, it is most prevalent now and in the autumn.
Grub out any brambles or perennial weeds that may have sneaked into the garden whilst your back was turned during the busy summer months.
Cut back pollarded willows and pleached lime trees, keep some of the discarded material as this can often be used in spring to help build supporting plant structures.
Clear, tidy and organise sheds and storage buildings, checking growing/protection structures that will be used later in the year.
Check and clear gutters and drainage channels to avoid blockages and flood damage during periods of heavy rain.
Prune Wisteria hard back to about 4 buds per lateral, removing a lot of last year’s vigorous growth whist trying to promote flowering spurs.
Make lists, source and order any additional trees, shrubs, hedging and perennials that you may wish to plant early this spring.
Remove fallen leaves and debris from turf and meadow areas to prevent damage to and enrichment of the sward.
Start coppicing Hazel, Birch and Willow, for use in creating plant supports in the spring.
Prune shrubs that require winter or spring pruning (generally shrubs that flower mid-late summer on current season’s growth), promoting healthy growth, flower and a good shape for the season ahead.
Take advantage of the season and plant any bare root stock now, incorporating a mycorrhizal fungi and mulch with well rotten organic matter to aid establishment.
Prepare for the coming growing season, check you have you’re your seeds, sundries, tools and other supplies in place to make sure this year will be a growing success!
When weather permits open windows and ventilate, to reduce fungal problems and build-up of condensation.
Clean the green house thoroughly before spring takes hold, keeping an eye out for any pests or diseases that may become a problem later this spring. If needed research into control methods and treatment so that you are prepared.
Grow on winter salad crops under glass in pots or beds.
Check and tidy all overwintering plants, removing debris and dead plant tissue to reduce the risk of fungal and mould problems.
Harden off pot grown biennials such as Angelica, Digitalis and Hesperis, for planting early spring when weather permits.
Lightly trim excessive growth on newly propagated and potted plants to encourage a bushy habit whilst improving light and air circulation.
Start off this year’s first crop of Broad Beans, along with onion and garlic sets, if an autumn sowing/planting was not possible. Use pots or modules to begin growing them under glass.
Continue to force bulbs for the winter period, utilising warmer parts of the greenhouse to bring on some plants faster and stagger the flowering.
Clean the glass of the greenhouse if not already done so, as improving light transmission will encourage stouter, stronger plant growth.
Harvest salad crops as well as flowers such as Chrysanthemum and Narcissus.
Begin to think about sowing early trays of Seed Onions, as well as Autumn Leeks, Peppers, Chilies and Sweet Peas.
List all the seed that you want to sow this year, making a note of when and how to sow them. This will help during the spring when the garden gets busy and seed sowing can be forgotten.
Check stored vegetables, removing any that are rotting or damaged by rodents, using prevention methods where required.
Keep vegetable patches weed free to avoid creating a ‘weed seed bank’.
Grow on salad crops under protection tunnels or in the green house until winter has passed.
Construct tunnels and cloches to warm soil on sunny days, in preparation for early sowings of salads and vegetables.
Plan any new additions to the fruit collection, research into rootstocks, pollination groups and varieties. Once selected order to take advantage of strong growing bare root plants.
Lift, clean and store all existing carrots, disposing of any that have Root Fly damage to prevent overwintering of the pest and re-infection of this year’s crop.
Complete pruning of soft fruit plants like Gooseberries and Currants, checking and re-tying trained forms.
Cut back autumn Raspberries hard to the ground and ensure early summer ones are tied in to supports/wires.
Complete pruning of vines to avoid the wounds bleeding during the early spring growth.
Begin to force Rhubarb and Sea Kale, excluding light from the crowns to encourage tender new growth.
Bring inside the greenhouse pot grown strawberries to encourage some early fruit.
Prune roses and tie in those that are on walls or trained onto supports.
Begin to prepare for any lifting and dividing of hardy perennials that you may wish to do. Consult notes from last summer and mark out any changes that are to take place once the weather conditions are more favourable.
Cut back and tidy borders that have been planted up with spring bulbs, ensuring the perfect setting for a good display.
List and source additional plants (including summer flowering bulbs) for borders that need renovating or improving.
Source seed and plan to sow any annual plants that you may want to add to the borders later in the year. Some hardy annuals can be sown directly whilst others can be grown on in pots and planted later.
Check and construct supports for climbers that exist within the borders, or for annual ones that you may wish to add as a “seasonal extra”.
Weed over and tidy the surface of any un-mulched borders to prevent early establishment of weed seedlings, whilst creating a smart setting for spring bulb displays.
If required lift and move existing shrubs to their desired location within the border.
Source and gather materials used for staking and supporting plants within the border.