Delicious in salads and sandwiches, the crisp, sweet crunch of a cucumber is one of the joys of summer.
Gardening in January
January is the start of an exciting new year in the garden. The weather may be cold, but if you look, you can see the first signs of spring outdoors, with bulbs poking up out of the ground and the days growing ever so slightly longer. Indoors there are seeds to sow, and January is also an ideal month to plant bare-root shrubs and trees. It’s time to get ready for a great year of gardening.
What to plant and do in January?
So, what should you do in the garden in January? Get your gardening year off to a good start this month - whether you’re planning for a garden full of flowers this year or looking forward to huge harvests of tasty fruit and vegetables, choose a category that interests you and read our top gardening tips for January.
Runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus) are among the easiest and most rewarding vegetables to grow.
Sweetcorn, or maize, is sweet, tender and delicious – especially when cooked as soon as it is picked. Plenty of sun and...
Spring onions are a delicious addition to a whole range of dishes, from summer salads to stir-fries.
Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) are tubers that grow and form at the plant’s roots.
Nothing beats the taste of your own home-grown tomatoes, freshly-picked and warm from the summer sun.
Garlic is the base of so many delicious dishes, and growing garlic at home is now very popular.
If you’re a strawberry fan, the many varieties of ‘Fragaria × ananassa’ are easy to grow at home.
What could be better than a bowl of sweet, freshly-picked raspberries in summer?
What Vegetables to plant in January
Even in January there are still vegetables to sow, and luckily this is something you can do indoors where it’s warm and dry. If you don’t have a greenhouse, it’s worth investing in a windowsill propagator with a heated mat to get warmth-loving seeds off to a good start. Here are some vegetables to sow in January:
- Broad beans
- Salad leaves
- Spring onions
Chit first early potatoes by leaving them in a bright, frost-free place for a few weeks to sprout shoots.
What Vegetables to harvest in January
Wrap up warm and head out to your vegetable bed to pick some winter vegetables for soups and stews. Vegetables to harvest in January include:
- Brussels sprouts
Vegetable plant maintenance in January
- Put cloches down to warm the soil for early seed sowings.
- Remove any yellowing leaves from Brussels sprouts, kale and other brassicas, as they can harbour pests.
- If you haven’t mulched your vegetable beds yet, there’s still time to do it. Spread a thick (5cm/2in) layer of well-rotted farmyard manure, compost or other mulch over the beds to improve soil structure and nutrient levels.
- Buy your tomato and chilli pepper seeds now, as you’ll need to start sowing them in a few weeks’ time
- Towards the end of the month, order first and second early seed potatoes.
What Fruit to plant in January
Provided the ground isn’t waterlogged or frozen, January is a good month for planting fruit trees and fruit bushes. The plants are in their dormant state, so planting them now gives the roots time to settle in and establish themselves before growth starts again in spring.
You can often buy fruit trees and bushes as bare root plants in January, which is a very cost-effective solution if you’re intending to grow lots of fruit this year. If you are planning to plant bare root fruit trees or bushes, prepare the ground ahead of time and plant the bare root plants as soon as you get them, to avoid the roots drying out.
These fruit trees and bushes can all be planted in January:
Fruit plant maintenance in January
- If you have several rhubarb plants, force a few of them by putting a cover (an upturned bucket will do) over the crowns to stimulate them into producing sweet, tender juicy stems in early spring.
- Prune apple and pear trees now, but leave cherries, plums and apricots until summer to avoid the risk of disease.
- Prune blackcurrants, redcurrants and gooseberries.
- Prune autumn-fruiting raspberries, cutting all last year’s stems to ground level.
- Cover wall-trained peaches with a ‘tent’ of polythene to protect against peach leaf curl disease.
Flowers & Bulbs
What flowers & bulbs to plant in January
At this time of year, most of the flower and bulb planting goes on indoors, but there are still a few flowers to plant outdoors in January, especially if your garden needs some winter colour.
- Snowdrops in flower
Sow indoors in a propagator
- Antirrhinums (snapdragons)
- Sweet peas
What flowers to prune in January
- Wisteria: give this climber its winter prune in late January, cutting back last year’s summer growth to 2-3 buds from the main framework.
Flower maintenance in January
- Remove old hellebore foliage, to stop the spread of hellebore black spot and make the flowers easier to see.
- Deadhead winter bedding such as violas to promote a second flush of flowers in early spring.
- Keep deadheading winter-flowering pansies to ensure they flower during mild weather.
- Clear away any old soggy leaves from perennials, but leave a few dead stems standing to provide homes for overwintering wildlife.
- Cut back the dead leaves from deciduous ornamental grasses like Calamagrostis and Deschampsia. Wait until early spring to cut back Miscanthus and Pennisetum, which need a bit more protection from winter frosts.
- If you’ve had pots of forced daffodils and hyacinths flowering indoors over winter, leave them somewhere bright until the foliage dies back, then store the bulbs in a frost-free place for replanting next autumn. The hyacinth bulbs can also be planted outside now, and should flower again in a year’s time.