We can experience just about any kind of weather in January so our gardens may need protecting from frost, snow, gale-force winds or heavy rain. It’s a good idea to check stakes, ties, fleeces and other supports for damage and to consider moving plants to sunnier positions to maximise light. Its not just plants we have to mind though. Food is particularly scarce for birds this month so don’t forget to keep the feeders full.
Jobs in the garden for January
Spring flowers such as Geraniums, Begonia, Blue Lobelia, Busy Lizzies and Petunias can be sown from seed indoors. They require gentle heat and should be placed on window sills or in any bright warm location. Simply sow the seeds using a good quality seed compost, cover with cling film and leave to germinate.
Sweet Peas can be sown from seed this month. A big tip with them is to soak the seeds in tepid water overnight before you sow. Place the seed tray in a bright, warm location and cover with cling film. The seeds will take a few weeks to germinate but once the young plants are eight inches high they can be planted out of doors.
Summer flowering bulbs to plant now include Dwarf Dahlias, Double Flowering Begonias, Scented Lilies, Nerines, Gladioli and the perennial Montbretia.
Early seed potatoes, such as the tasty Irish varieties Orla and Colleen, can be planted now in a bright frost-free indoor location. Both Orla and Colleen are blight resistant and easy to grow. Red Duke of York, Epicures and British Queens are also wonderful early varieties with great flavour.
No vegetable garden is complete without garlic, onions and shallots. The bulbs can now be planted out of doors in well prepared soil or directly into the greenhouse or poly tunnel for earlier pickings.
Rhubarb can now be planted directly into the garden soil – remember to add in plenty of organic compost and chicken pellets to help enrich the soil before planting. Timperely Early is a particularly delicious variety.
Bring your Christmas tree to your local recycling center or better still shred it for garden mulch.
Prune apple and pear trees
Keep putting out food and water for hungry birds