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Tasks, tips and tools for January Follow

Take a look at our jobs in January guide. Tasks are emphasised in black and tools you may need are highlighted in blue. 

Happy New Year! Now. Do we really want to be in the garden in January? Is there anything to do? Isn’t it better to sit it out in front of the fire? Well no. Yes it’s cold, yes it may be snowy, freezing, dark and gloomy, and your poor hands may be as blue as a berry but there is so much to be done in the garden or on your plot in the not-so-merry month of January, you’ll barely notice the cold once you get started, and it’s a great way to burn off a few winter comfort-food calories.

Delicate plants need protection from frost or heavy snow and sleet. When the temperature drops, gather up plants like fuchsias or rosemary and take them into the greenhouse or conservatory. Don’t forget to clean and tend them first.

Remember to remove any dead or rotten foliage or wood first, if branches are tough use a long reach tree pruner (sees image below) to save effort, and make sure you have dealt with any pests before bringing them inside. There is still some warmth deep in the soil at this time of year, so January is actually a good season for planting new shrubs. If so, you will need a good quality planting spade to cut into the ground and create a bed for the roots, a general all round spade to empty and fill in afterwards and a solid, hardwearing rake, for covering the roots and shaping the area around the shrub.

Greenworks G-Max 40v cordless long reach pole pruner

This is also an appropriate time to carry out a general tidy of the garden, removing any dead foliage, branches and so on, anywhere, in fact, that pests like slugs or snails can hide. Clear your borders and vegetable patches of debris and detritus, to reduce the risk of disease and stop pests from spreading. Use a good rake. A handy tip is to remember that a good ash wood handle   on your garden tools is corrosion proof and stays warmer to the touch than aluminium or plastic.

Vegetable beds may well need preparing for the coming year. If the ground is not too hard, choose dry days and get out there with a good fork and a sturdy spade (see below) like the before the frost really bites, and don’t forget to cover your prepared ground with black plastic to keep the weeds from sneaking back once it’s done.

MD stainless steel spade

Think about orders for flower bulbs for the summer. If you are a vegetable grower, it’s time to order onion sets, seeds and maybe seed potatoes. Secure fences and make sure young trees have stakes to protect them from high winds. Have a pair of robust and sharp garden scissors handy for string and suchlike.

This is the right time to prune your apple or pear trees, while they sleep. Cut back new growth to a few new buds and thin out branches to help light and air get to the centre of the growth. Try some bypass loppers on tough branches and some good quality bypass secateurs for the smaller stuff. And by the time you have done all that…. believe me you won’t be cold anymore! 

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