Garden To-Do List – January

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This post is the first instalment of 12 monthly blogs that will cover some of the many essential tasks that will need to be undertaken throughout the year.

We have put together a simple checklist that we hope novice gardeners will find useful. Please don’t forget to let us know what you thought of this post and if you have any further knowledge of gardening tasks for January, then please feel free to leave a comment below.

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Recycling old Christmas trees

If you own a shredder or can get your hands on one, then you should definitely consider shredding the branches for garden mulch for the base of trees or under shrubs. This mulch can also be added to a garden composter although please be aware the wax-coated leaves can take longer to decompose.

The benefits:

  1. Increased water retention
  2. Decreased weed growth
  3. Frost & pest protection
  4. Increased nitrogen levels.

Many councils offer a free Christmas tree recycling service. Go to www.recyclenow.com & use the search tool to check if your local authority provides this service.


Greenhouse & pot Cleaning

Cleaning your greenhouse may not seem like the most glamorous of chores. Still, cleaning out greenhouses, gutters, pots & water butts ensures maximum growth yield is accomplished as well as decreasing the spread of diseases in both glass & plastic greenhouses.

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Digging over empty plots

It may seem like punishing work, but when taken slowly, it need not be so demanding on both you and your garden fork.

Single Digging

Single digging is when the soil is being turned to a spades or forks depth.

Double Digging

Double digging involves cultivating a second, deeper layer. This second layer is ideal for deep-rooted rooted crops such as asparagus or rhubarb because of the improved soil drainage that comes with double digging.

Rotavating

If you can get your hands on a mechanical rotavator then a two or five horsepower model would be more suited to light soil conditions; for harder soil conditions, a more robust model will be required.

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WARNING Using a rotavator in wet soil is extremely dangerous!


Lawn Care During this time of the year, your lawn will be actively growing and will require attention to ensure it is in tip-top condition for the year ahead. Some of the tasks required would include weed pulling, moss-killing, regular mowing & patch reseeding.

Your lawn mower will be one of your most-used pieces of power equipment, so you must take the time to research which type of mower will suit your needs best, click the link to our ‘How To Mow’ blog for a more in-depth look into mowing timings, techniques & to find out which type of mower will best suits you.

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Crop Rotation

The concept of crop rotation is to grow certain kinds of vegetables within different sections of a plot each year.

Why is crop rotation important?

It organises your vegetables according to their cultivation needs & assists in preventing the spread of crop-specific diseases or pests each year.

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Helping Wildlife

You can make a significant contribution in supporting local wildlife by simply placing out additional food during the winter months.

Turning compost heap

Be aware when turning your compost heap that these are often the warmest area of most gardens and may have animals resting inside them such as Frogs, Toads or Hedgehogs.

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Check your Bonfires

Bonfires must ALWAYS be checked before they’re lit as nocturnal animals will almost certainly see these as the perfect places for sleeping in during the day

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Building a Wildlife Hotel

These are simple to make and is as easy as a piling up leaves or stacking logs. Following these simple steps will enable you to view & attract local wildlife even in the smallest of gardens & often at very close quarters.

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Peach Leaf Curl – Leaf Curl

This is a common fungal disease of Peaches, Nectarines, Almonds & Apricots. Peach leaf curl is caused by the fungus Taphrina Deformans. It affects the leaves & shoots of individual trees soon after they have come out in spring.

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Removal

Prompts removal of the affected leaves before they begin to develop white spores will drastically reduce the amount of fungus in the following year. There are no Fungicides available to amateur gardeners for the removal of peach leaf curl.


Pruning Fruit Trees.

The tools you will need include:

  1. A sharp pair of secateurs
  2. A quality pruning saw

It would also wise to consider investing in a fruit tripod ladder which will allow you to get close to the branches you need to prune. These are also perfect for fruit picking.

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How to prune

You are aiming to take between 10 – 20% of the overall canopy each winter. Try to work evenly around the tree & if your pruning pile looks a little to big STOP – You can always go back next year. A sufficiently pruned tree may need only 10 – 20 cuts in total. Avoid the temptation to make massive cuts, especially if the limb is more than 10 – 20 cm (4-5″) in diameter. If you must cut large branches the try to trace the branch away from the tree where a narrower section or fork.

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Forcing Rhubarb

You can dig up and force Rhubarb crowns to produce an early crop. The plants are brought in & kept in darkness for eight weeks to create a sweeter and earlier crop.

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