Keeping busy in your January garden
Even though this is the coldest time of year and the garden in January may look asleep, this is a month for optimism. By the end of the January, pearly white snowdrops and golden winter aconites will appear making a perfect partnership with hellebores. Those brave plants that are flowering at this time of year can be admired without distraction. There is always something to see and do in the garden!
After all the new year celebrations are over, take the opportunity to work off some of the excesses by working on the garden. The days are getting longer, albeit slowly, so with a little more light – and provided the ground isn’t frozen or waterlogged – you can work it at any time of year. Even if the ground is frozen, there’s no excuse to do nothing in the garden. Spreading around organic matter, such as well rotted manure, compost or leaf mould, can done over frozen soil, is less messy, and will save you time later in the year.
If you enjoy raising plants from seed, you can begin sowing them by the end of this month. Provided they are kept in a sunny, frost-free environment they will get off to a flying start. No matter how long you’ve been gardening, raising your own plants from seed is very satisfying. To get seeds such as tomatoes and tender bedding plants to germinate they will need some heat, which is where a propagator is so useful. There is quite a selection available and the investment should pay back as you can save money on buying bedding plants later in the year.
Keep off the lawn if it’s frozen, but on a good day improve the drainage by using fork, pushed into the ground to about 15cm. For larger areas you can hire mechanical spikers for aerating the grass. Immediately afterwards spread in horticultural sand for increased drainage. Worms are quite active in lawns at this time of year, which is a benefit, but make sure you brush off the casts, which not only look a bit unsightly but will encourage weed seeds to grow. Before the mowing season begins, take your lawnmower in for a service this month; you’ll be glad you did in the spring.