On this page we hope to keep you up to date with what to do in the garden throughout the year.
You might consider January is the month to sit by a fire and look through the window at the garden thinking about how it will look as the year progresses, but, if you do not get out there, there will be nothing to look forward to. Digging and trenching will keep you warm, so finish any that has been left. Consolation can be derived from the fact that no work should be carried out when frost and snow are on the ground or it is muddy. Growing crops will need protection. Look at plant supports and repair any that need attention. Paths may need repairing and lawns tidying.
Fork the soil over to let the air in, and make any alterations in the flower beds that are thought necessary taking care not to disturb bulbs. Spend time obtaining new catalogues and ordering seeds. Annuals sown in the Autumn will need protecting from frost. Prepare ground that is to be planted out with bedding plants with manure. Tidy up climbing plants and remove any dead wood. Firm down herbaceous plants that have been lifted by the frost, so keep your eye open or better still spend an afternoon firming them in with a little fine soil collected from mole hills. Protect the new shoots of young tender plants.
SEEDS TO SOW
Hardy bulbs may be sown in succession this month to give continuous bloom. Sow a few Antirrhinums and Petunia in gentle heat.
If you have neglected the greenhouse now is the time to make up for not having cleaned as thoroughly as you might. Dead leaves should be removed from plants. Make sure that plants are not in draughts whilst insuring that the top and bottom ventilators give enough air, but not in excess. Spend time preparing potting compost for pots and seed trays so that seeds and cuttings can be put in when required. Make sure that the atmosphere is moist and gentle so that flowers in bloom remain bathed in the the right atmosphere. Avoid wet air. When watering, which should be done regularly, but not in excess, make sure the water is the same temperature as the greenhouse air. Start a few Achimenes and gloxinias for early flowering. Do not forget to water the roots of hard wooded plants. Prune any roses in pots.
SEEDS TO SOW
Time to sow Asparagus, Freesias, Fuchsias, Gloxinias, and Sweet Peas.
Chrysanthemums, tree Carnations, Fuchsias, Heliotropes and Verbena can be started under gentle heat. Dahlias should be placed in gentle heat so that they produce plenty of cuttings.
Calceolaria seedlings when large enough should be moved to larger pots. Hippeastrums and soft wooded plants may need moving to larger pots so that their flowering is not inhibited.
The vegetable garden should be tidied up and any vegetable refuse collected and put on the compost heap. Any that is contaminated with pests should be burned and the ashes dug in. Find a dry day to hoe between growing crops.
SEEDS TO SOW
Broad Beans and Peas should be sown in succession in warm sheltered positions from the end of the month. Try a few Cauliflowers, radishes and other early crops in hot-beds warmed in south facing positions using cloches for protection. Start Lettuces every two weeks. Try some onions in trays.
Potatoes can be placed in trays to sprout in a shed free from frost. Rhubarb, loverly stewed with a piece of orange, should be planted in deeply dug soil which is well manured.
Asparagus, Broad Beans, Carrots, Herbs, Onions and Radishes can be forced using hot-beds. Those wishing to force Cauliflowers, Chicory, Lettuces, Rhubarb and Seakale should start now. Cucumbers wanted for harvest in three months time can be started under glass or in a hot-bed by planting seed.
Broad Beans, French Beans, Beetroot, Carrots, Aubergines, Leeks, Mustard and Cress, Onions, Peas, Radishes, Seakale and Tomatoes should all be started from now on.
Start pruning the hardier trees, such as Apples, as soon as the weather invites you into the garden. Do Not prune Apricots, Cherries, Figs, Nectarines and Peaches. Get trees to be grafted by cutting them back. Scions for grafting should be cut, labelled and heeled into the ground ready for use. Treat the stumps of old fruit with a wash such as lime, or spay with caustic soda, whilst removing all old dead bark. Avoid planting trees this month unless absolutely necessary and then only speedily from pots. Give a covering of well rotted manure if you are forced by circumstance to plant trees.
TREES AND SHRUBS
Evergreens and deciduous shrubs can still be planted if you wish to brave the weather. Watching the garden through the window is still the best thing to do on a bad weather day; perhaps planning the removal of the present window and placing a picture window or French windows in its place. Beech, Hawthorn and privet hedges should be trimmed in order to start bringing them into shape. Tidy the deciduous shrubs. Try a few cuttings of deciduous shrubs that lend themselves to cutting otherwise staple young branches into the ground. These will all be needed for replacement for old or damaged plants. Similarly you can make ready plants for grafting. Have a look round the garden for roots and suckers as they can cause havoc to the foundations of buildings. Roots stretch out from the base the height of the tree or shrub. Pass the warnings on to your neighbours, after all the roots do not discriminate between your house and theirs.