What to do in your garden this month – January
January is here and winter is in full swing but there are still a few things to keep in mind to keep it looking good.
Most pests will be inactive in the colder months, but it’s still worth checking for snails etc in sheltered places, such as empty pots in the cold frame or greenhouse.
Be sure your gutters and downpipes are free of debris. A build up caused by clogged gutters during a rainstorm is the worst way to discover a problem that could have easily been avoided.
Disconnect your hoses and drain them before storing. Water expands when it freezes, which can affect your outdoor tap, cause potential flooding and damage most non-industrial hoses. Also, be sure to shut off the water to outside taps, if they are not “frost free,” to protect your pipes.
Hopefully, the worst of the weather has passed and now is a great time to fix those fences and start to plan any construction ideas you may have. Fencing, Decking, Raised Borders, Pergolas, etc can be undertaken by ourselves. Maybe you need ideas and advice? Please feel free to Contact us and ask.
Your Lawn in January
- If you would like a fine finish to your lawn then it may still need a cut. I know this sounds crazy in January but due to a very mild winter so far, grass in still growing. This should be kept to a minimum, however, to avoid compacting and damaging the structure of the soil. This is especially important for clay soil.
- Keep your lawn clear of leaves and other debris. Leaves left on your lawn for extended periods can smother your grass, so “clean” your lawn and allow the daylight to encourage root growth in the turf.
- It is still very important to remove perennial weeds as these will be difficult to control until the lawn is established.
Composting in January
- Add enough dry waste to balance the large amounts of wet waste coming out of the kitchen just now. Scrumpled up Christmas card envelopes and bits of cardboard are very useful to provide the carbon element needed.
- Aerate your compost heap by turning it
- Worm bins kept outside need to be well-insulated to help the worms survive winter conditions. Reduce feeding in cold weather, as the worms will not consume very much at this time.
- Protect bare soil during the winter months. Use autumn leaves as a mulch (cover) during winter weather. If necessary, cover with netting or fleece to prevent wind blowing everything away.
- Don’t stop weeding. Hoe off/pull out any annual weeds, and dig out perennial ones that are revealed. Compost green foliage, but not seedheads nor perennial weed roots.
- Keep off wet soil in all parts of the garden to avoid compacting and damaging the structure. If you absolutely have to walk on it in the wet, stand on a plank to spread your weight. This is especially important for clay soil.
- Continue to collect fallen autumn leaves to make leafmould. Pile them in large bin bags or heaps, keeping them damp.
- Winter pansies can be affected by Downy mildew and leaf spots. Deadhead regularly and remove diseased leaves on sight.
- Plan next year’s garden now. Try to have something in flower year-round, which is essential for the wildlife that plays such an important role in keeping your organic garden healthy.
Keeping the growing area healthy
- Spider nests are everywhere at the moment, filled with eggs ready to hatch next May. The baby spiders appear just as their prey does, and hungry spiders will consume vast quantities of insects, so nurture these predators-to-be.
- Entice hungry birds into your area with fat balls and other bird feeding stations. They will repay you by eating up a lot of insect pests that lurk out of our sight and reach, under buds and on stems. Birds are especially helpful in cleaning up over-wintering aphids in fruit trees and bushes.
- Remove dead/dying foliage regularly from over-wintering plants to prevent mildews and moulds taking hold.
- Whitefly will often colonise over-wintering potted-up fuchsia plants. Use insecticidal soap to keep things under control; it’s too cold now to use the biological control. If plants are badly infested, carry them outside very carefully in order not to disturb the whitefly. Once outside shake vigorously to dislodge the insects and quickly replace back inside the greenhouse and shut the door.
- Ponds are best left alone at this time of year as frogs and other creatures are hibernating, and should not be disturbed.
- Gently skim off dead leaves and duckweed. Even in winter invasive plants can multiply.
- Reduce watering now as plants aren’t growing much, and leaves don’t lose moisture in cool conditions. Keep plants just moist.
- No need to feed plants between now and March.
- Mist the underside of leaves to keep humidity high. This deters red spider mite.
If you have a question about a project in your garden, please feel free to Contact us and ask.