Action for January Fruit, veg and patios
Cut autumn-fruiting raspberry canes down to ground level. If the weather is poor though, pot them up or wrap the dampened rootball and store in a cold but frost-free shed. Mulch newly planted fruit trees and bushes.
Protect fruit bushes
Protect buds on fruit bushes from birds with fine netting. Also protect early blossoms on plums and cherries from frost by draping fleece over them.
Bring pot-grown strawberries into the greenhouse or cold frame – or cover any plants you have in the ground with a cloche – to encourage an earlier crop.
Start chitting potato tubers
Stand the tubers in trays or egg boxes with the rose end uppermost and keep them in a cool, dry, frost-free place with plenty of light.
This will encourage more shoots to grow.
You can also harvest winter cabbages, leeks, Brussels sprouts and kale whenever you need them.
Warm the soil
Cover the area where you want to grow early peas, beetroot and broad beans with a cloche, portable cold frame or a double layer of fleece – this will help to warm the soil.
Sow once weed seeds start to germinate or once the cloche has been in place for at least two weeks.
Replace the cover after sowing to speed up germination. You can use the same method with radish, spinach and spring onions.
On the patio
- Deadhead violas to keep flowers coming in patio pots – such as pansies and violas. Our report in September 2007 showed this was the best way to prolong flowering.
- Remove faded flowers from cyclamen. Pinch them off at the base of the stem, otherwise the stem will rot.
- Stop pots from freezing. Raise them on bricks or pot feet. Wrap in bubble plastic and keep in a sheltered spot.
- Remove slippery moss and algae from paths, patios and stepping stones with a stiff brush or pressure hose. Make sure frost isn’t forecast or you’ll create an ice rink!
In the greenhouse
Check greenhouses, coldframes and polytunnels for draughts, especially round the door and eaves. Re-secure bubble wrap insulation where necessary.