When I first started to grow vegetables I really needed the information to be in one place, so I could look it up easily. However, I found I had to search for lots of little bits of information, scattered between internet sites and books. It used to take me a long time to find the information I needed.
I thought it would be useful to have this information altogether in one place. So for the benefit of the UK gardeners, I will write a list of things to be done each month and any useful information I can think of.
It is worth remembering that different parts of the UK have different weather conditions e.g. the last frost is expected earlier in the south than the north. Therefore, this is a general guide.
Up until now we have had mild weather and some very cold weather.
In mild winters it is common for rain and gales in January and if the weather does turn cold, then snow is more likely to lay on the ground for longer than it would have done in December. The coldest temperatures of the year will usually occur at the end of January.
Daylight is lengthening slightly every day, but January does feel like a very dark and gloomy month. However, it’s an exciting time for gardeners as it is time to plan your plot and decide exactly what you want to grow in the coming year.
Vegetables and salads to harvest:
Brussels, kale, cabbages, parsnips, celeriac, leeks, cauliflowers, swedes, Jerusalem artichokes, carrots, winter radish, hardy lettuces, corn salad, land cress and winter purslane, sprouting broccoli.
Vegetables and salads to sow:
It’s too cold to sow seeds outdoors as they will rot in the cold, wet conditions. Broad beans or garlic can still be sown in a cold greenhouse or cloche when the ground isn’t frozen or too wet.
You can get an early start by sowing the following seeds indoors: Leeks, onions, peas, radish, salad leaves and spinach.
Things to plant (if the soil is not frozen or waterlogged):
Rhubarb can be split and re-planted this month.
Continue planting bare root trees and bushes while they are dormant.
Jobs to do:
Work out what you will be growing this year and either buy or order your seeds.
Check your stored fruit and vegetables to make sure they are not rotting. If one rots, it can rot them all if it isn’t removed.
Protect cauliflowers from frost through the coldest months by wrapping their leaves over the curds.
Continue to prune fruit trees and bushes (except cherries and plums) unless the weather has turned very cold.
Check stakes and ties on fruit trees and bushes are not worn or broken.
Prune your grape vines. Next month it will be too late as the sap will start to rise.
Check your nets are still in place to protect your brassicas from pigeons.
Continue with your winter digging if the soil is not frozen or waterlogged.
Spread compost or well-rotted manure over your soil and either dig it in or let the worms do the work for you.
If it snows, keep an eye on your polytunnels as snow can get heavy. Carefully remove snow to stop any damage.
Wash seed trays and pots ready for seed sowing and ‘pricking out’.
Sharpen tools such as hoes and secateurs.
Start ‘chitting’ seed potatoes by placing them in trays or old egg boxes with their ‘eyes’ facing upwards. Store them somewhere cool and light.
January pests and diseases:
Slugs can still be a problem even in winter.
Pigeons are hungry and love eating brassicas.
Bull finches love the new buds on gooseberries, so net them early.
Leaves can kill grass and start to spread diseases like downy mildew if they are left on your vegetables.
I hope this information has been helpful.
Thank you for reading my blog today.
I will be next Friday with my plans for 2015.