This time of year isn't the most appealing for gardening, but if you can start on the leg work now you'll be so pleased you did when Spring/Summer suddenly appears and there's less work to do. As we're not out in the garden much, it's the perfect time to get those post Autumn/mid winter jobs done that build up and often look unsightly. January in the garden is all about cleaning, tidying and prepping for the year ahead, planning what you'll grow and how you'll use the garden this year.
Although we are still getting frosty days and the cold is here to stay for a while, there are still signs of new life popping up, with little shoots making their way to the surface. There isn't a great deal else going on right now in the garden, but it is the right time to prepare, from sorting out this years garden furniture, to prepping flower beds for new growth. It's hard work in the cold but oh so worth it. Here's a few good starting points to tackle this month in your garden;
Now's the time to trim back those small fruit trees and shrubs. Also, if you have any rose bushes, clematis or buddleia you can neaten those up now ready for Spring if you haven't done so already. Always cut just above a bud so that the new seasons growth can go from there. Turn over the soil in your flower beds ready for planting or sowing seeds and add goodness such as a good quality compost. Remove any dead or diseased plants, leaves or branches and dispose of correctly.
January is a great time for planting; indoors you can plant onions, geraniums, begonias and pansies, as well as bare rooted trees and broad beans outside.
Care for wildlife
Make sure to hang out lots of fat balls and treats for visiting birds, as well as placing water bowls outside for easy water access. In turn the birds will eat unwanted pests so it's a worthy investment. Make sure if you have a pond to leave a gap in ice for fish and other pond creatures. You can do this by placing a couple of tennis balls in the water and removing them one at a time when the water freezes to leave an air hole. If you have room, you may want to think about placing some new bird boxes out too.
Rid patios and paths of dirt and slimy residue with a good jet wash or stiff brushing and hose. After Autumn there can often be a lot of excess leaves and plant matter decaying through winter, which can leave surfaces slippery and dirty. Get out the jet hose and freshen up all your paths, walls and patios to prep them for the coming months and lessen the load when it comes to Spring cleaning.
Install a water butt
Now is the perfect time to invest in a water butt for your garden and to get it in place. It seems to rain almost daily this time of year and all that water can be put to good use later in the year and even better, it's right where you need it to use as sparingly as you like.
Protect from frost
Try not to walk on frosty grass as it can damage the grass beneath. Gently brush snow from bushes to avoid the weight damaging branches if it gets too heavy. Protect plants with garden fleece where needed to protect them from the elements.
With many of us waiting for those warmer days before we get stuck into the garden, we can end up spending the best of the weather doing the jobs we could be getting out the way right now. As tempting as it is to curl up under a blanket this time of year, getting out in the garden will make you feel good and you'll thank yourself later when there is far less work to be done to enjoy the outside space.
Will you be tackling the garden this month?
*Collaborative post with The Garden Furniture & Interiors Co.