January gardening: Five jobs to do in the garden this month

Homebase reveals what to do in your garden in January

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Although January’s cold weather and lack of sunlight may not be optimum weather for blooming flowers, there are still plenty of tasks that can be done around the garden. From maintenance to protection, your dormant plants still need a little bit of TLC in the chillier months.

Five jobs to do in the garden this month

Plant trees and bushes

Although the weather might not be the most hospitable for planting an array of flowers, bare-root trees and some bushes can be planted in January.

However, before doing so it is important to make sure the soil is not frozen or sodden.

Bare-rooted trees and plants have usually been dug up straight from nursery beds, which is why they have no soil around them.

As a result, the dormant winter months are the prime time for planting.

When planting, choose a spot with well-drained soil, then dig in rotted garden compost or manure to provide fertiliser.

The plants should be soaked in a bucket of water for around an hour before planting.

Be sure to cut off any damaged roots with secateurs.

Once planted, cut away any weak or damaged wood from the plant.

Sow seasonal vegetables

Some seasonal vegetables are ready to be sown in January.

These broad beans should be potted in mild areas, such as a cold frame or unheated greenhouse.

Early crops can be sown indoors, such as lettuces, spinach, salad onions, turnips, cabbages, and cauliflowers.

Onion seed can be sown in a heated propagator.

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Prune fruits

Certain fruits should be pruned to allow for better growth as the spring season approaches.

Apples, pears, quinces and medlars can be pruned.

Currants and gooseberries, as well as autumn raspberries, can also be pruned in January.

Protect plants from wildlife

Your plants are not only at peril from the cold weather, but also from foraging wildlife.

Mice controls should be placed near any vegetables you are storing.

Early seed sowings should also be protected from slugs.

There are a few methods you can employ to ward off slugs.

One method touted as the most humane is by using petroleum jelly.

Simply apply the petroleum jelly around the rim of any plant pots you have, and each time a slug comes into contact with the vaseline it will likely drop off.

This must be reapplied every three to four weeks.

If you are growing brassicas, such as cabbages, it’s a good idea to protect them from pigeons.

The most obvious way to do this is by netting the crop.

Simply drape the net over the plants, and then tamp it down with stones or bricks.

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Keep a lookout for mould

Grey mould and brassica downy mildew can impact certain plants in the garden, particularly brassicas.

Grey mould is a disease caused by the fungus Botrytis cinerea, and although it can impact healthy plants, it usually enters them through a wound or infects plants that are under stress.

It is common on grapes, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, gooseberries, beans, cucumber, courgettes, lettuce and tomatoes.

A good way to stay on top of mould is by removing any dead or dying leaves, buds and flowers promptly.

Try not to leave dead plant material lying around.

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