Are you going to have a go at growing your own fruit, vegetables or herbs this year? There’s no rush while the January weather’s still cold and dark, but if you’d like to make a start this month then there are a few seeds that you can sow, and a few other garden or allotment jobs you could do.
Now is often a good time to stock up on seeds and garden equipment as many of the big gardening shops and websites have sales and special offers. Thompson & Morgan have vegetable seeds from 69p, and they’re also doing five packets for the price of four on pretty much everything at the moment. Suttons has a general garden sale on, with up to half price on onions and potatoes. Marshalls also have loads of grow-your-own special offers, and Wilko are generally nice and reliable with low prices, such as seed potatoes for £1 a bag.
What to sow outdoors (under cover)
If the ground is frozen, don’t try to sow seeds, sets or tubers yet. You may be able to warm the grown up if you have a cloche, cold frame or polytunnel though, and you can sometimes pick up a clear plastic cloche or two in your local pound shop.
You can sow:
- broad beans
- some types of lettuce
- ‘sets’ of onions and shallots (these are small bulbs, not seeds)
- oriental leaves and mustards
- winter salad mixes
Check the back of each seed packet carefully to make sure they can be sown in January.
What to sow indoors in January
- baby leaf salad (on a cool, bright windowsill)
- chillies (in heated propagator)
- leeks (early types)
- peas (ideally sow in deep modules or guttering, unless you just want pea shoots)
- summer cabbage and cauliflower
If you aren’t in too much of a hurry, all of these seeds can be started off in February instead, so there’s no rush.
Other garden jobs to do in January
There aren’t too many garden jobs to do in January, you might be glad to hear. If the weather’s bad, you can stay indoors and plan what you’re going to grow for the coming season.
If you insist on doing some edible garden work this month, here’s what you can do:
- Check any stored apples, pears, cabbages, onions and root vegetables regularly for signs of rot
- ‘Chit’ seed potatoes in boxes (leave them exposed to a bit of light so they start to sprout ‘eyes’)
- Cover strawberry plants with a cloche or move to greenhouse for earlier cropping
- ‘Force’ (cover to exclude light) established rhubarb plants for earlier cropping – but don’t force a plant this year if you already forced it last year or it will become exhausted and could die
- Order seeds, sets and gardening equipment for the coming season
- Prepare soil for spring planting
- Protect overwintering brassicas from pigeons, and remove any yellowing lower leaves
- Plant dormant fruit trees and bushes, if weather allows
- Winter prune apple and pear trees, and currant and gooseberry bushes
Are you going to grow any of your own food this year? What are you planning on growing? Herbs on a windowsill count too…