This month – with its rain, ice and maybe even snow – may not seem like the ideal month to be doing your garden.
But… Spring is less than three months away, and although your garden appears to be dormant, there’s probably a lot going on that you can’t see right now!
Your spring bulbs will be starting to show soon – if they’re not already. And there are lots of gardening jobs to do in January which will help you get a head start on the growing year ahead. Here are some of our recommended tasks!
1. Sow seedlings
It is possible to get a head start on sowing some of your seeds for this year. It’s one of the most practical gardening jobs to do in January – because you can even do it whilst sheltering in the shed!
You usually need somewhere warm and bright to germinate seeds, and for most, it’s too cold to do so outdoors just yet. A windowsill would be ideal for some types of seeds – others will survive outdoors, as long as they’re under cover. You could even invest in a heated mat to kick-start the growing season.
You could try sowing some sweet peas now for a head start on a really good display this summer. If you’re thinking about growing your own you can even start off veg like leeks, onions, carrots, broad beans, hardy peas and spinach around now. January is also a great time to begin sowing chilli seeds, which need a long growing season in order to fruit well.
If you’re new to growing from seed, you’ll find lots of books packed with tips to have you growing like a pro. Why not try How to Grow Plants from Seed from the RHS? It covers the basics of fruit, veg, flowers and herbs.
The great thing about growing from seed is it’s really simple once you know how, and you don’t need lots of special equipment. Just choose compost for seedlings and a couple of seedling trays and propagators – like this starter set from Thompson and Morgan – and you’re away!
2. Have an early spring clean
If there’s not much digging or planting to be done, this is one of the most important gardening jobs to do in January. It is cleaning greenhouses, plant pots, polytunnels and water butts ready for the year ahead.
Removing the algae, moss and grime will help control pests and keep diseases at bay in the coming months. It will also let in more light to greenhouses and create a better growing environment, too.
Start by brushing out debris, old soil and cobwebs. Then use disinfectant or detergent to clean. Choose hydrogen peroxiede based products like Jeyes Fluid, which don’t harm the environment. You can also buy specialist Just Glasshouse Cleaner for greenhouses.
3. Prune back wisteria
If you are lucky enough to have some gorgeous wisteria in your garden and you want to cut it back a little, January is a good time to do so. You should aim to cut back any summer side shoots to just two or three buds.
4. Deadhead your winter flowers
Take off the spent flowers from winter bedding favourites like primroses, violets and pansies and they’ll keep giving you fresh blooms well into spring. If you haven’t planted up a winter container yet, it’s not too late. You can expect these lovely winter plants to put on some significant growth and flower lots between now and late spring.
5. Clear fallen snow off plants
If we get another generous covering of snow, just check on your shrubs and other plants. Shake off the snow to reduce the strain – snow can be incredibly heavy, especially if left to freeze. Otherwise, once its thawed you might find snapped or squashed plants underneath!
6. Jet wash patios
This is a good job to do out in the garden early in the year. You can scrub your patio with a stiff broom or blast with a pressure washer. We have this Karcher set and we use it several times a year to keep our patio looking its best.
But if you don’t want to do it yourself, there’s plenty of local gardening businesses who can help you. Have a look in our local directory to find out who can help.
7. Show off your Hellebores
If you have these winter flowering plants in your garden, make the most of them. Remove any leaves which are obscuring your view of the flowers – and also carefully dispose of any leaves on the plants which appear to have ‘blackspot’ (a patchy black discolouration of the leaf). Of all the gardening jobs to do in January, this is probably the quickest!
You can actually remove almost all the leaves from a Hellebore and it will still survive. And your flowers will look all the more eye catching, too.
About the author:
My name is Gemma. I’m the editor of Newton-le-Willows News and a very keen but amateur gardener. I mainly enjoy growing flowers in my small garden in Lowton, but I do experiment with the odd edible too – all in containers. You can follow my garden on Instagram @gandtgarden.