Happy New Year to everyone! The New Year can often bring about large changes and decisions. If, for example, you want to get fitter in 2020, then plan some big changes for your garden which will get you out and moving more. Or, if you want to change your diet, consider setting up or expanding your vegetable patch – there’s nothing more satisfying than eating your own produce! No matter what your goals are for 2020, keep your garden in mind to complement your plans.
So let’s look at some tasks for January…
By the time Twelfth Night comes along, you will have moved your Christmas tree outside, and you will be looking to dispose or plant those trees, depending on which type you purchased. Alternatively, you can shred your tree and add it to compost bins. You can also use the thicker branches (and maybe even the trunk) to build frames for peas and other activities in the garden.
Make sure fruit is entirely removed from trees – if left, they can encourage diseases in the spring. Keep weeding by hoeing and raking where possible. But do be careful not to stand on wet soil. Use a board or plank to spread your weight and not compact the soil you are standing on. The same goes for walking on your lawn in frost or snow – avoid it where possible.
Keep areas clear of fallen leaves, and turn or rotate your compost heap. Compost heaps require the right mix of ingredients to rot down and be useful, so if you’re struggling with your compost bin come in and have a chat, we can advise on getting the mix right. Or check out Garden Organic for their guide to composting.
Hang fat balls on tree branches to encourage birds into your garden – they are brilliant for pest control and need all the help we can give them. Do keep checking that the bird bath hasn’t frozen over too!
Deadheading doesn’t stop for midwinter! Keep at it, and if you haven’t pruned your rose bushes now is a great time. Ornamental grasses are another target of attention – cut back old foliage to within a few centimetres of the ground. Apple and pear trees are dormant, so start pruning, along with any blackcurrants, gooseberries and redcurrants.
Ensure any protection you deployed at the end of last year is working and adequate – some heavy rain, wind or snow can easily move or dislodge fleece, covers and mulch, so check everything is as it should be or add more if the weather has been particularly bad.
Parsnips and leeks will be ready to harvest – two beautifully versatile vegetables! If you stored any fruits and vegetables, do keep checking on them and remove any that show signs of disease. And if you’re planning to group ease, place a cloche over the soil, to start warming the ground ready for sowing in a few weeks time. Place an upturned bucket over the new growth of rhubarb as it will encourage the rhubarb to grow.
There are many herbs and veg that can be planted now, mostly under cover, but the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll have crops.
Keep cleaning and preparing pots, walkways, even your water butt, for the year ahead – your future self will thank you for preparing so much in advance!