Let's get going on tending to your garden for the year, to be the best year it's ever been.
- Plant bare-root roses, shrubs, hedging, and ornamental trees, as long as the ground isn't frozen.
- Take root cuttings of fleshy-rooted perennials like oriental poppies and delphiniums.
- Establish new colonies of snowdrops and hellebores by planting them in clumps.
- Clear away soggy, collapsed stems of perennials and compost them.
- Remove hellebore foliage with black blotches to prevent the spread of leaf spot disease.
- Regularly deadhead winter pansies and other bedding plants affected by downy mildew.
- Check stored bulbs and tubers for rot and ensure dahlia and canna tubers are not dried out.
- Continue pruning climbing roses while they are dormant.
- Sow sweet peas under cover for earlier and abundant flowers. Use deep pots or root trainers, cover with newspaper, and protect from mice.
- Sow Iceland poppies and cobaeas indoors.
- Start sowing hardy annuals like cerinthe, calendulas, and nigella.
- Begin sowing half-hardy annuals such as antirrhinums. Opt for single-coloured varieties and provide optimal germination conditions.
- Apply slow-release organic fertiliser as growth emerges in late January.
Start planning your vegetable garden for the year, making a realistic list of must-have crops that you enjoy and will actually eat. Plan the layout and methods for growing your chosen vegetables.
- Cover the ground to protect it from excessive moisture.
- Sow Swiss chard undercover, as it is a versatile and delicious addition to various dishes like risotto, gratins, stir-fries, and soups. The stalks and leaves are both usable.
- Place netting over brassicas to safeguard them from pigeons.
- Remove yellowing leaves from Brussels sprouts stems.
- Sow leeks, onions, broad beans, hardy peas, spinach, and carrots undercover.
- Start sowing greenhouse tomatoes for an early harvest.
- Use cloches to warm the soil for early sowings of vegetables.
- Begin the process of chitting early seed potatoes to promote sprouting.
Now's a great time to start growing some herbs for an aromatic year ahead.
- Sow hardy annual and biennial herbs like chervil, parsley, and coriander undercover. Before sowing parsley seeds, rinse them in warm water and allow them to dry on kitchen paper overnight. This process removes the germination inhibitor from the seed coat and accelerates the harvest time.
- Dig up and pot up mint roots to encourage early shoots.
- Start perennial herbs such as French sorrel, chives, lovage, and leaf fennel. While there's no rush for these herbs, providing some bottom heat during germination can help them sprout successfully and give you an early advantage.
- Harvest and enjoy a variety of brassicas, including Brussels sprouts, red and green cabbages, cauliflower, and kale.
- Dig up delicious roots such as Jerusalem artichokes, parsnips, and salsify.
- Pick fresh leeks and celery stems for your meals.
- Enjoy nutritious leafy greens like chard and perpetual spinach.
- Add flavour to your dishes with herbs such as parsley, chervil, coriander, winter savoury, rosemary, sage, and bay.
- Create vibrant salads with chicory, endive, lettuces, hardy lettuces, mizuna, salad rocket, and various mustards.
- Keep those bird baths topped up and provide some high-energy treats for our feathered friends.
- Time to fix those wobbly fences and give wooden structures a good dose of preservative.
- Show your lawn mower some love with a basic service or let the pros handle it.
- Get those bird boxes up and give the bird feeders a regular scrub to keep our winged pals happy and healthy.
- Clear the paths, patios, and decking of any pesky debris and watch out for slippery spots.
- Time to get your hands dirty! Dig over those borders, pull out those stubborn weeds, and get those pots and trays ready for sowing.
- Don't let the cold get to your plants! Protect them from freezing temperatures and insulate those outdoor taps.
- Time for a little pruning! Tame those overgrown climbers and give your hedges a trim.
- Keep an eye on those grassy edges! Add some paths or hard edges to keep things in control and make mowing a breeze.
- Don't forget the winter scents! Plan for some lovely fragrant plants along the paths for a delightful stroll.
- Stock up on all your gardening essentials to be ready for the season ahead.
- Give your shed and greenhouse gutters a good clean to make way for that winter rain.
- Be mindful of those vulnerable plants and shield them from the harsh winds and cold temperatures.
- Stay off the frozen or frosted grass to avoid any unsightly yellow patches come spring.
- Create a nifty chicken wire cage to gather those fallen leaves for composting. It'll turn into fantastic leaf mould in no time.