Jobs for the Month

January 2022

January is usually cold and wet – not very inviting for going down the allotment.  However, there are  things to be done indoors – such as planning the plot and ordering seeds for the coming season. Also some seeds can be started indoors or in the greenhouse

Vegetables

  • Plan this year’s vegetable plantings, ideally rotating crops by not planting in the same place as last year..
  • By mid January, start ‘chitting’ tubers of early potatoes in trays in a cool, light, frost-free location.
  • Continue to harvest sprouts, kale, cabbage, leeks and parsnips as needed.
  • Keep kale, winter cabbages and other brassicas covered with netting to protect them from hungry pigeons. Remove any yellowed leaves, so that fungal diseases don’t take hold.
  • Sow summer brassicas and spinach on a windowsill to plant out in late February.
  • Aubergines can be sown under cover on a sunny windowsill from late January.

Fruit

  • Begin forcing rhubarb for an early crop by placing a bucket or forcing jar over the crop.
  • Prune gooseberries, redcurrants and whitecurrants by removing dead wood and low lying shoots. Prune last year’s growth of the main stems by about a half. Prune all side-shoots back to one to three buds from their bases.
  • Prune overgrown blackcurrant bushes; remove a third of the old, weak or unproductive stems to ground level to encourage new basal shoots
  • Prune apples and pears to control their shape and size, maintaining an open centre. Do not remove more than 20% of the crown in one winter
  • Prune grapevines before mid January
  • Plant bare-root fruit trees. If they need a frame to grow on (e.g. espalier apple trees), now is a good time to construct it.
  • Apply winter washes to fruit trees to control overwintering pests.

Flowers

  • Sow later sweet peas now and pot on autumn-sown sweet peas, pinching out the tip after 4 pairs of leaves have developed or when plants have reached 3.5 cms. Place on a sunny windowsill, in a cold frame or greenhouse.

General

  • Clear any remaining debris on the plot and cover cleared soil with weed suppressant.
  • Complete winter digging of bare beds and cover the ground to warm beds for early crops.
  • Spread manure to areas as required to increased fertility and improve the soil structure.
  • Clean polytunnels and greenhouses, pots and seed-trays ready for the coming growing season

 Gardening for wildlife

  • Put up a bird feeder on your plot and regularly replenish it.
  • Clear out bird boxes by removing old nests and rinse out boxes