Peter’s Gardening Tips for January 2021
No matter where you live we have all been served up with a wide range of weather in 2021 so far, including frost, snow, gales, rain, hail and some lovely sunshine mixed in.
Spending time outside in the garden is a great boost for our mental health, especially during these challenging times.
There are always things you can do in and around the garden in preparation for spring. Here are some top tips…
It’s a perfect time to book in your mower, strimmer, hedge cutter, or blower for servicing. You should get a winter discount for most machinery servicing, normally 10% discount – haggle!
Tools in the Shed
Rub down spades, forks, hoes etc with a wire brush, remove all the caked on soil/rust off the metal. Oil them, even using old engine oil on a rag and wipe over the metal. Also, check the tool handles for wood-worm, small pin like holes and treat with wood preservative/wood-worm killer. A job very well worth doing and very satisfying to see your tools all clean and ready for the coming season.
Other Indoor jobs
Re-use plant labels by cleaning them, a scouring pad seems to work well, cleaning fluid, a rubber erasure for pencils. Wash old seed trays and pots with hot soapy water or a pressure washer. Check any indoor plants for bugs and beasties lurking and treat. Check stored vegetables, fruit, bulbs and tubers.
Shopping – Armchair
Most seed catalogues are available on-line or by phone request now, so check out the latest stock for the coming season.
Clear gutters and drains of leaves, and also check sheds, greenhouses and garages for any leaks. Clear up any remaining leaves.
Shopping at Garden Centres and Nurseries
Depending on where you live, garden centres should be open still, although this is subject to change at short notice. Seed potatoes, shallots, onions, garlic are also arriving in stock now, and many of them will have sales on. If you do buy any plants in pots, don’t plant now, leave them outside in a sheltered corner all together and plant out in March/April time. Summer bulbs, corms and tubers will also be arriving like Dahlias and Gladiolus, keep an eye out!
Planning for the Season to come
You may want to create some raised beds for vegetables and flowers, work out which vegetables did well last year, consider trying something new. Talk and discuss with your friends and share ideas?
Think about Scent in the Garden
It might seem obvious but the best place for scented plants are near the doors and windows to the house, also by a seating area, patio, bench, pergola, walk-way and paths. There are plenty of choices even in winter, Daphnes, Winter Sweet (Chimonanthus), Christmas Box (Sarcococca), Witch Hazel (Hamamelis), Winter Honeysuckle (Lonicera Winter Beauty)… to name a few. It’s not too late to order in Sweet Pea seeds and a must have are Roses for scent – the Nations favourite plant. Roses can be ordered now bare-root (no soil around roots and not in a pot). They generally arrive in a plastic bag or damp hessian, plant into pots if the ground is too wet and plant out into their final position in the Spring.
Wearing gloves empty out the old nests from last year, you may even find a friendly mouse. Birds are actively looking for a nesting site now, when putting up a nest box put it where cats can’t reach, its not facing south as cooks in the sun, not too close to a feeding station and out of the prevailing winds, your garden will be home to many more birds?
Bird Feeders and Bird Baths
Most at this time of year are pretty foul after all this rain, clean out and throw away all wet food. Ideally, take the feeders apart and wash thoroughly in hot soapy water and allow to dry, remembering to wash your own hands thoroughly afterwards.
Any Other Jobs
Your final job is to empty saucers of water from all outdoor pots, and put feet or tiles under pots where possible. If you can manage them, move all the planted pots together without saucers, into a more sheltered corner for frost protection.
Take time out and go for a walk or even spend time in your own garden. Stand still, stop, look and listen. Take a deep breath and use those senses, including smell. You will be amazed at what you can see in a few minutes even at this time of year, enjoy!
That’s enough from me, happy gardening despite the weather and enjoy the catalogues, my last tip, check the insulation in the greenhouses, heaters are working and the fleece is to hand, as more cold weather is on the way!
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