15 gardening tips for January

The New Year is here, and it's time to get going in the garden again! Whatever the weather, there's always something to do, and here are our top 15 gardening tips for January.

15 gardening tips for January

  1. Plant a new tree or shrub to celebrate the new year! Provided the ground isn't waterlogged or frozen, winter's a good time to plant trees and shrubs, and at this time of year, you can buy bare root plants, which are cheaper than container-grown – a great idea if you're planting hedges or redoing a shrub border. 

  2. Mulch your borders and vegetable beds with a thick layer (at least 5cm/2in) of well-rotted farmyard manure or garden compost. This will improve soil structure, helping the soil retain moisture during dry periods and drain better in wet weather.

  3. Cut back any soggy-looking perennials that have died back and clear away leaves from beds, as they can be a harbour for slugs and snails over winter.

  4. Prune wisteria, cutting back last summer's shoots to 2-3 buds from the main woody framework for a fantastic display of fragrant flowers in a few months' time

  5. Cut back old hellebore leaves. This makes the flowers easier to see and reduces the spread of hellebore leaf spots, a fungal disease.

  6. Deadhead winter pansies to encourage a second flush of flowers.

  7. Prune shrub roses, removing all dead, damaged and spindly growth, then cutting branches back by a third just above an outward-facing bud. Use sharp secateurs and make cuts that slope away from the bud so rainwater will run off the cut.

  8. When working in the garden, watch out for the first bulbs – winter aconites, early daffodils and snowdrops are all coming up now, so take care not to tread on them.

  9. Birds need plenty of food to keep warm at this time of year, so top up bird feeders with sunflower seeds, suet balls and other high-energy foods. Make sure there's clean water in bowls or birdbaths for birds to drink and wash their feathers.

  10. Check any stored bulbs like tulips, dahlias and begonias to make sure they aren't drying out or rotting.

  11. Get your tools in order while you have some time to spare. Sharpen lawnmowers and secateurs, and clean out old pots ready for seed sowing in spring.

  12. If you want to sow early peas, prepare the soil now by laying fleece, black plastic or cloches over the ground now to warm it up.

  13. Prune apple and pear trees, as well as soft fruit like blackcurrants, gooseberries and redcurrants.

  14. Force some early rhubarb by putting a bucket over the plant's crown. This encourages the growth of delicious tender pink stems.

  15. Sow microgreens on a sunny windowsill to give you a taste of fresh salad while you wait for spring to arrive.

Your last job for January – visit us to stock up on all your gardening essentials. You'll find everything you need in our centre in Fergus.

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