Even if you live in a mild area, tender plants that can’t be left outside with protection should be taken into the greenhouse or conservatory by the beginning of January.
You can also protect any non frost-proof containers (such as terracotta pots) with bubble wrap, hessian or fleece, to stop them cracking. Group containers next to a south-facing wall to help protect them from the cold. Also ensure that protective fleece or straw is still in place on your tender plants that are overwintering outdoors. You should also keep pots and containers tidy, regularly cutting back and removing debris, then mulching with grit or compost. Grit looks better and stops mud splashes and puddles forming on the top of the compost.
This is a great time of year to start getting your soil prepared if you’re planning on growing vegetables. Cultivate and prepare seed beds then cover them with clear polythene, cloches or fleece to warm up the soil before you start sowing.
- If it is frosty and dry, you can leave heavy soils exposed – the frosts will do two jobs – improve soil structure and kill pests.
- Work in lots of organic matter to improve soil structure in heavy soils. Grit is only effective if it is used with organic matter.
- If you’re gardening on wet soil, stand on a plank of wood, rather than the soil, so you don’t compact the soil.
Not already a member of the RHS? Join from just £39 and start enjoying free garden visits, personalised advice and discounted shows tickets.
Make a note in your diary for January 17 when a new food hall opens at RHS Garden Wisley. The British Food Hall will feature new indoor and outdoor seating, and will have even more seasonal dishes made using Wisley-grown produce, as well as a fabulous range of breads, cakes and other goodies.
Listen to the latest RHS podcast
Listen to our latest podcast, where we offer seasonal information, you can hear tips on growing fruit and veg, and get up-to-the-minute help and advice.
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