Spring preparations. A gardener prepares a small greenhouse

Gardening in January

A new year with new opportunities! January is an exciting month where we plan our growing year, buy the seeds we need and prepare the garden for what is yet to come. Join us and make 2024 a fabulous growing year! 

If you haven’t already….

  • Protect vulnerable plants from frost as we go through the coldest months of the year. Either mulch heavily or bring them under cover if possible. 
  • Gather your gardening equipment such as cold frames, nets, horticultural fleeces, plant supports and pots not in use. Give them a good clean and store them somewhere safe where they can’t blow away in the winter storms. Taking good care of the equipment we have already got is not only good for our wallets, but is one of the best things we can do for the environment.

What to do now…

  • Plan your 2024 garden. What do you want to grow this year? Create a list of everything you want to grow and then make a sowing timeline. It will set you up for a successful growing year! Remember to order any missing seeds. 
  • Order seed potatoes to make sure that you get the varieties you want. Potatoes can be grown in the ground but also in large pots or grow bags if you’re short on space.  
  • Protect outdoor taps from freezing. Either insulate the taps with a cover, or if not in use over the winter turn the tap off at the stop-cock. 
  • Prune red and white currants. Aim to develop an open framework of old wood from which lots of side shoots will grow. The growth from last summer can be shortened and any congested growth can also be thinned out slightly. 
  • Sow onion seeds. Fill a tray with compost and press it down slightly to create a flat, even and lightly firmed surface. Sprinkle the seeds evenly over the surface and add 0.5cm of compost or vermiculite on top. Water and place somewhere protected. A Sprout Mini Greenhouse would be the perfect choice!
  • Stake purple sprouting broccoli plants before they become top heavy or blow over in the wind. 
  • Keep clearing your brassica beds as you harvest and add the green waste to your compost heap. Chop up the plant material to smaller pieces with a spade to speed up the composting process. 
  • Keep protecting your brassica beds with netting if you have a problem with pigeons. They tend to get extra hungry in the winter so keep an eye on your brassicas! 
  • Regularly check on your stored produce like potatoes, carrots, apples, pears, beetroot, carrots, squash, pumpkins, onions and shallots. Remove any bad ones to stop rot spreading. Also, make sure to eat the less than perfect ones first!
  • Pot up some strawberry runners and place them under cover for an earlier harvest. 

  • Repair anything broken in the garden like sheds, fences, trellises and plant support. You do not want to leave this job till the busy spring! 

Quick jobs 

Sometimes we only have five minutes to spare but it’s remarkable how much you can get done in those minutes! Imagine you did one of these jobs every day of the year. 365 small jobs creates miracles! 

  • Check on your potted plants – make sure they don’t dry out after freezing. Remember to remove any saucers and raise the pots off the ground with a few stones so that they don’t become waterlogged after rain. 
  • Pick kale leaves! It only takes a few minutes and you will have fresh veg on your table for supper. 
  • Remove dead leaves from leeks to keep them healthy and prevent diseases from spreading. 
  • Go for a 5 min walk around the garden and collect any equipment currently not in use. Store them somewhere safe. 
  • Check your plants and remove any foliage that is yellow, dead or looking diseased to prevent moulds and fungal diseases from spreading. 
  • Watch out for hungry animals like pigeons, squirrels and deers. Protect your crops with suitable netting or move what you can under cover. 
  • Go on a slug egg hunt! Look under things like pots, pieces of wood, clumps of soil and stones. Dispose of any eggs you find. 

What should I be sowing this month?

This month we can sow onions, lettuce and broad beans under cover. We can also sow aubergines, micro dwarf tomatoes, chillies and peppers indoors or in a Sprout mini greenhouse. It is, however, essential to have grow lights at this time of the year. If that is not an option for you, it’s better to wait till the end of February for these sowings. 

In the Sprout mini greenhouse we can also keep on sowing spinach, lettuce, salad leaves, pea shoots, radish, spring onions, parsley and coriander. 

What should I plant this month?

January is a great month to plant gooseberries, currant bushes, raspberries, cane fruit, all types of fruit trees, rhubarb and garlic in pots. 

What should I harvest this month?

January can be a surprisingly good harvesting month offering cauliflower, kale, savoy cabbage, winter cabbage, brussel sprouts, celeriac, chard, swede, parsnip, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks and spinach. You may of course also have lots to harvest in your Sprout like lettuce, pea shoots, herbs, chilli and peppers. 

Gardening with children 

Gardening with children is wonderful and chaotic! It is the very best place for them to learn about and connect with nature, wildlife, biodiversity, sustainability and growing food. It is important to let them have a go and fail but it is also important to give them an opportunity to succeed! Here are some ideas that you can do with your children this month.

  • Create a little area in your garden that is only for them. If you don’t have the space, even a pot will do! Children love having their own growing area to be responsible for and proud of. Discuss and plan what they will grow throughout the year.