It’s been a very strange year weather-wise. December saw unusually high temperatures throwing everything out of order. People reporting spring bulbs flowering and trees budding, However, temperatures are slowly dropping and everything should reset shortly.
It is a perfect time to get all those gardening jobs up to date after the festivities of Christmas and New Year. Although January is typically a cold month there is still plenty to do, and the sowing calendar has started.
I hope that you have all had a fantastic Christmas and New Year. Now is the time to burn some of that energy you have been saving. So get your boots and coat on, brave the weather and get the jobs below sorted.
Jobs you can do right now
Move Containers Of Vulnerable Plants into a sheltered spot or greenhouse.
The temperatures are really falling at this time of year. The ground is frozen and the frost drops most nights. This frost is what can damage your plants, even those that are frost hardy.
By moving them to a sheltered spot you are putting them into a microclimate which raises the temps a few degrees. Not only that, If they are all close together, it is much easier to fleece them on very cold nights.
Prune Or Tidy Climbers
This month is perfect for pruning and tidying your climbers, This has multiple benefits as it reinvigorates your plants. It protects them from damaging winds found this time of year, and it keeps the plants under control.
Cut Back Grasses
Grasses fall into two groups, evergreen and deciduous. Deciduous require to be cut back between January and March just as the new shoots are starting to appear.
Like your lawn, Disciduous grasses do not die when you cut them back, In fact, it can make the plants much healthier. If grasses shoots are starting to form, Just cut back the old growth to just above the new growth that is coming through.
Dead Head Winter Pansies
In order to get the most out of your winter pansies, It is important to deadhead any faded flowers. This keeps the plants producing new blooms which gives a blast of colour at the depths of winter.
Trim Unwanted Suckers From Trees
A lot of people may not know that most trees purchased and grown these days are actually grafted. This simply means the top of the tree is different from the roots and they are joined together when the tree is a sapling.
This rootstock will sometimes push out suckers from the root section below the graft. If these are not removed it takes the energy from the top of the tree which does not carry the desired traits. These must be removed, and this month is perfect to do it.
Take Hardwood Cuttings
If you want to propagate trees, shrubs and climbers then hardwood cuttings is the perfect way to increase your stocks. Ideally performed after leaf fall or before the first buds appear. Simply take a cutting just below a bud, dip in rooting hormone and pot up.
Prune Wisteria, cut all side shoots back to 5cm
Wisteria is a beautiful plant, You will see them all over the place in stately homes as this plant can get huge and out of control. Prune your Wisteria in order to keep it in check. Now is the perfect time to do it and to reshape and train it where you want it to go.
Move Shrubs and Bushes
While shrubs and bushes are dormant it is a perfect time for them to be moved. The sugars haven’t started to rise until March, So you have a few weeks to get this job done. Make sure to place them exactly where you want them so you don’t need to complete this task again in a hurry.
Mulch plants such as Gunnera with Straw to prevent frost damage
These plants are awesome and wouldn’t look out of place in Jurassic Park. But despite their size, the winter weather can take its toll on these. The leaves will die right back just like Rhubarb. In fact, this is called the giant rhubarb.
Like Rhubarb, Gunnera’s crowns need protection through the winter months. Simply get some straw and place a large bed over each crown to protect it from the harshest frosts.
Refresh compost in permanent pots
The winter months are perfect for completing tasks like refreshing compost in-display pots and planters. Use this time where you are not run off your feet to get this task completed
January is one of the last time you have to get spring bulbs into the ground. It is the perfect time to plant snowdrops to give you that blast of colour in early spring,
Grapes grow so quickly from fruiting spurs off the main vine. These vines get out of control throughout the summer. Now all the leaves have dropped, you can easily tie side-shoots in and this will help to keep the shape of your vine. Cutting the rest right back to a fruiting spur leaving just about 1-2 inches. For more info check out the video below.
Sow Chilli, Leeks, and Onions
These three plants species can take a long time to mature. Starting them now will ensure you have good sturdy plants right when you need them. Once the last frost has passed you can plant them out into their final spaces.
Take Chrysanthemum cuttings
I have been asked many times why even bother to take cuttings? The reason is that Chrysanthemums are one of those species of plants that actually produce much stronger plants when they are young. By taking cuttings you are ensuring you have good quality plants that can perform exactly how you hoped.
Make sure garden birds have access to clean fresh water
With the temps dropping so low. Most external water sources freeze. It is very difficult for animals and birds to get the water they require, especially if things do not warm-up for multiple days. By providing fresh water daily you can really help the wildlife in your garden.
Here is a list of some other jobs that you can do now.
- Get your propagation equipment ready
- Sort out your seeds and order replacements
- Get greenhouse heaters ready
- Recycle your Christmas tree
- Check crops and bulbs you have in store
- Keep off frozen grass
- Oil your tools
- Bring Strawberries inside to force early crops
- Remove old fig stems
- Plant bare-root trees
- Feed birds through cold weather
- Sow Broad beans
- Pick off yellowing brassica leaves
- Cover Rhubarb to force early crops
- Prune redcurrant, blackcurrant and gooseberries
- Finish digging over beds
As you can see, Even though it is winter, there is still plenty of jobs to be getting on with. If you take charge of the garden now you will have more time to enjoy it come summer.
I really hope you have enjoyed this post, Make sure to come back for jobs to do each month. Better still why not sign up to my blog, this means you will not miss anything I post. You can do that in the form in the righthand sidebar.