A new month means new jobs to do in in the garden. And January’s are especially important as they help set you up for the year, saving you a world of hassle when the warmer months roll round.
1. Check your stored tubers (e.g., dahlias and cannas) – carefully lift them out of their crates, or wherever you have them stored, and inspect for any damp, rot, or mould. Discard anything that looks a bit suspect before it affects your whole collection.
2. Plant snowdrops in the green – now’s the best time to plant snowdrops when they are in active growth. It’s also a good time because you can usually begin to see where your other spring bulbs are growing. If you buy in large quantities at this time of year, you can create a beautiful snowy-white blanket of snowdrops relatively cheaply.
3. Clean and sharpen your tools – you won’t regret it when it comes to pulling out a newly cleaned and oiled spade, or a newly sharpened pair of edging shears, in the spring. It’s also a good time to get your garden machinery serviced, if you have any, to ensure everything is in good working order for the season ahead. There’s nothing worse than a vital piece of kit like a lawnmower breaking down, just when you need it at the height of summer.
4. Plan your borders, pots and vegetable beds and place orders for seeds and other plant material now – when the time comes to get sowing and planting, it’s important to have everything ready to go and close to hand so you don’t miss the crucial windows of opportunity that each new season brings.
5. Pruning certain shrubs in January is vital – wisteria, ornamental grape vines, and walled trained fruit trees such as apples and pears are great examples. Now is the time to assess the structure of your plants, which you can see best in winter when the bare plants are without leaves. Thin out spurs, shorten vigorous summer growth and remove dead, dying or diseased wood.