January Gardening Guide

It is not too late to stake young trees and climbing plants now to keep them from being blown by winter winds. Prune apple and pear trees and the Buddleia, or butterfly tree. Borders could do with mulch so use manure, leaf mould or compost at least 2 inches thick to put nutrients back into the soil. Order your summer flowering bulbs now- daffodil, begonia and dahlia. Order your seed potatoes and collect seed trays or wooden tomato trays ready to chit them in.

Towards the end of the month when the weather and soil conditions allow, plant out soft fruit bushes.

When the sun shines, spray fruit trees and bushes with garlic wash to ward off slugs and snails. To make, crush 2 bulbs of garlic, and boil in 2 pints of water for 3 to 4 minutes. Strain mixture and decant into a spray bottle. Spray every two weeks on a dry afternoon to keep the creepy crawlers away. On days when you can’t work on the plot use this time to clean the shed or greenhouse, maintain and repair tools and linseed oil any wooden handles. Check that the watering can and buckets don’t leak and that the wheelbarrow doesn’t have a flat wheel. I’m sorry that your January birthday means you were probably conceived on April Fool’s Day.

By her who in this month is born,
No gems save Garnets should be worn;
They will insure her constancy,
True friendship and fidelity.

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.
Edith Sitwell

There are two seasonal diversions that can ease the bite of any winter. One is the January thaw. The other is the seed catalogues.
Hal Borland