Gardening Tips For January

For most of us, the garden isn't really a priority in January. When it's cold and wet outside it can feel like a bit of a chore getting out there, particularly when the ground is frozen. However, if you want to give your outdoor space the best chance of looking good for spring, there are things that can be done at this time of year in preparation. Here are a few jobs to get on with- if you can bear to get out in the cold!

Maintain the ground
The ground/soil will need preparing every month and this is crucial, including weeding, fertilising to keep the soil nutritious for the plant. The empty plots can be weeded, old plants dug out, ground dug over and again fertilised. On milder days, go out with a spade and break up the soil, turning it over as you go. It makes it easy to pull up weeds that have sprouted, and makes it easier for garden helpers like earthworms to move through the soil. 

Harvest what you can
If you have previously planted vegetables like cabbages, brussels sprouts, spinach beets, leeks and parsnips, these can be harvested if the ground is not frozen solid. If the ground is solid, a good tip is to use straw to over the root vegetables to stop them from freezing, also helping the crops to be harvest as you can get your shovel in the ground. Do not put straw over plants that need sunlight to grow, otherwise they will root. You don't have to wait until warmer weather to start sowing seeds, your windowsill will do just fine and in many cases is the best place for them to be. In January most seeds will need to be sowed inside due to the weather still being cold in the United Kingdom, if you have the luxury of a green house then the seeds could be directly planted in the soil. 

Sow some seeds
Different plants will like to be sowed at different times of year, so check any packets you have or Google. Put them down at the wrong time of year and your crops can fail. There are some seeds you can sow in January. Some seeds may be able to thrive outside directly in the soil or need sowing in a warmer place first, like your window or a green house. Some seeds need light to thrive and other seeds prefer the dark. Get to know your seed. What type of soil does the seed need? (including PH balance and nutritional balance- see more information of natural fertiliser and their properties) The seed may want a potassium rich soil, while other prefer nitrate or phosphorus or even a mix. I would say reusing soil is ok along as it weeded and nourished with fertilisers, as the previous plants may have absorbed all the nutrients. Find out how much room will the seed need. This depends on the type of seed grown, for example potatoes and onions can be directly planted into the ground (with a thin layer of straw) but still need around 10cm either side to grow and grow down into the soil. Be sure to leave plenty of room either side so they can grow outwards. You'll also need to know how often to water the seeds, so again check your packets or Google information for the specific plants you want to grow.

What food seeds can I sow in January?

Broad beans
Coffee (a bean)

What flowers can I sow in January?

Sweet pea 
Scabious japonica
Himalayan poppy
Cup and saucer
Lobelia Supacoat 
Salvia farinacea

Happy planting and January gardening!

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