This week: there are always jobs to do in the garden and January is no exception as Kathy Vivian finds
EVEN those without a garden can grow mini-greens on a sunny windowsill and it’s a good activity to do with children. There are a wide variety of seeds available for growing salad leaves indoors, which are easy to grow and ready to crop in about a week from sowing.
My favourites include “Twinkle” pea shoots and “Dark Opal” basil. Fill shallow trays with a thin layer of compost or several sheets of damp kitchen paper. Plastic trays from supermarket food packaging are good for this. Sow seeds thickly and keep them moist, warm and in the light. Crop using scissors.
Sweet peas can be sown now. Sow two seeds per pot and keep in a sunny but frost-free place. Sweet peas are best sown in tall, narrow pots to encourage long roots to grow.
Grey mould can be a problem for indoor plants. Stop it spreading by removing infected leaves or plants immediately. Prevent mould from developing by keeping water off leaves and allowing air to circulate around plants.
Bare root trees and shrubs can be planted now. A shrub that brightens up the winter garden is Cornus (dogwood), and it can be planted now in a sunny position. They are pruned hard in spring to encourage bright new stems to grow so never get very large. They look best grown in a group of one colour.
Apple and pear trees can be pruned now, as can currant and gooseberry bushes. Aim to create an open framework of branches, which allows air to circulate.
Wisteria needs pruning now, to encourage flower buds to develop.
The RHS website provides lots of detailed advice on pruning different kinds of plants.
Don’t forget to keep providing food and water for the birds in your garden.