As we pack away the Christmas decorations and eat the last of the festive chocolates, January is seen as a month of new starts. With spring a few short months away, it may be easy to think it’s time to prepare for looming warmer weather, but there’s still a few garden chores you need to do to get through the winter first.
1. Garden birds have a very tough time during the winter, so make it much easier for them by ensuring you offer them a fresh supply of food and water. Fat-balls and seeds for the gardens are cheap and easy ways to encourage birds to your garden, and make sure bird baths are kept clean, un-frozen and topped up with fresh water.
2. Providing shelter for your garden’s wildlife doesn’t mean creating wood houses; it’s much simpler than that. Piles of twigs, leaves, hay or scrap sheets of corrugated plastic are cheap and easy ways to protect your garden’s wildlife, providing shelter over the frosty winter days.
3. January is a good time of year to create a compost heap or leaf mould pen if you do not already have one. This will allow them to be ready for the debris produced over the new growing season. If you already have one, turn the compost over to encourage decomposition.
4. Some planting can, however, be carried out in January despite the cold weather. Potatoes can be grown in undercover containers, raspberry canes and new fruit trees can be planted in sunny and well-drained spots and various vegetable crops (radishes, beetroot, spinach etc) can be sown in seed trays.
5. Pruning is still an important job during winter. Wisteria and fruit trees/current bushes need to be pruned to encourage new growth, and plants such as perennials and willow trees need to be cut back. Any old foliage, damaged stems and yellowing leaves to also be removed to prevent further damage and attracting pests.
What will you be doing in the garden this month?