Winter is normally a quiet time in the garden but it won’t be long before spring arrives and you’ll be knee deep in gardening odd-jobs. Use this January as a chance to get a start on any jobs around the garden and prep for some fantastic gardening success this Spring and Summer.
Clean up flower beds and borders
Have a general tidy up and remove leaves and other debris from your flower borders, lawns and ponds. You can cut back the old dead growth of grasses and perennials now, although if you’d like to be wildlife friendly then its best to leave the tidy up until early spring.
Clean your greenhouse
Wash your greenhouse before spring arrives! Before long your greenhouse will be home to trays of seedlings and cuttings. Sweep out any plant debris on the floor and benches and disinfect with a hot solution of garden disinfectant such as Jeyes Fluid. Make sure you disinfect the inside of the glass too – disease can survive in the smallest nooks and crannies. Whilst you’re there, wash pots and seed trays to help prevent diseases infecting your young plants. Ventilate your greenhouse well over the next couple of days so it dries thoroughly.
Hunt down garden pests now
Hunting down and removing hibernating pests now can save a lot of trouble come spring and summer. Take a closer look at the crowns of your perennial plants and you may find slugs, snails and aphid colonies sheltering for the winter. If you still haven’t cleared last year’s pots of summer bedding then do this now and be on the look-out for the white vine weevil larvae, which live in the compost and feed on plant roots. Destroy any you find and be prepared to treat for vine weevils this year, using parasitic nematodes or chemical drenches.
Install water butts
Install water butts in your garden now to collect seasonal rainfall. Not only does this help the environment but rain water is good for plants (tap water is often slightly alkaline). When installing a water butt make sure it’s positioned below a downpipe to make the most of the rainfall.
Fix fences, gates and trellis
Although it’s cold outside this is the ideal time of year to get those niggly little jobs out of the way! Any broken structures or tools are best fixed now so you have more time to spend in the garden during spring and summer. Treat your wooden garden structures with a wood preservative during dry periods.
Clean gardening tools
Give your tools a clean and sharpen! Caring for your garden tools not only helps preserve them, it saves you money in the long run and helps prevent the spread of disease.
Create a composting area
If you haven’t already then try setting up a compost area in your garden. This could simply be a ready-made compost bin or you could build a compost bin yourself using spare bits of wood. Not only will you have somewhere to put your garden waste but your plants will benefit from the rich compost created when it all breaks down! Make sure you have a good mixture of grass clippings, vegetable peelings, paper and woody pruning. To help the process along you’ll need to turn your compost with a garden fork each month to keep it aerated.