- Prune gooseberry, red currants and white currants to maintain an open-centred bush with 8 to 10 main branches. Prune last year’s growth of the main stems by about half.
- Remove about one-quarter to one-third of the oldest stems of black currant at ground level to encourage the growth of new basal shoots.
- Prune grape vines mid-January.
- Protect brassicas – broccoli, brussels sprouts & cabbages – from pigeons with cloches or netting.
- You can start to chit early potatoes in a cool, frost-free environment.
- You can force rhubarb from January onwards by covering crowns with straw or a forcing pot.
- Citrus trees: Take care not to overwater during winter. Allow soil to dry partially between watering.
- Fruit Trees: Continue to prune apple and pear trees – they can be pruned even in frosty weather. But do prune not plum and cherry in winter as they are prone to silver leaf. Aim to create an open shaped tree with a framework of about five main branches. Apply organic winter-wash for fruit trees to control over-wintering pests. Use a plant oil wash if aphids have been a problem. Provide cover to protect peach & apricot trees.
- Protect taps with insulation (like bubble wrap) to protect from freezing.
- Plan the allotment crop rotation – leave 2 years before replanting crops in the same place if possible.
- As beds are harvested and cleared, turn over the soil and then cover with gardening fabric to keep weeds down.
- start brassica from seed indoors, then move out to a cold frame in late February.
- Sow broad beans in pots under cover/cold frame.
- bring potted runners of strawberries under glass for forcing
- continue to harvest winter vegetables such as parsnip, swede, sprouting broccoli, brussels sprouts, leek and turnip.
Flower / Ornamental Garden
- Weed borders – stand on planks to avoid compacting the soil.
- Ensure there is dry mulch over frost-tender plants (like fuschia and salvia) and containers.
- Plant bare-rooted trees, shrubs & hedges.
- January is a good time to prune deciduous trees (but not cherries & magnolias). Look at the shape of the branches and trim for maximum visual effect.
- Renovate deciduous hedges
- Prune roses.
- Water container-grown bamboo as needed.
- Winter-prune wisteria in January and February, shortening shoots that were pruned last summer to 2-3 buds from older wood. (See RHS, The Garden, January 2013, p.24 for guidance on pruning wisteria.)
- Cut down herbaceous perennials to ground level if looking tatty.
- Start to cut back deciduous grasses to allow new shoots to emerge.
- Prune winter-flowering jasmine after the flowers have faded, thinning and reducing the shrub’s size.
- Sweet peas can be sown indoor or in a cold frame.
- Float something in water to help from freezing over.
- Clean out bird boxes if you have them.
- Garden birds in winter include blackbirds, thrushes, long-tailed tits and robins. Crows and magpie are also around, as are wood pigeon.
- Watch out for winter migrant birds such as redwings, fieldfares, brambling and waxwings.