This week: there are al­ways jobs to do in the gar­den and Jan­uary is no ex­cep­tion as Kathy Vi­vian finds

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - GREENSPACES - Kathy Vi­vian is a lo­cal gar­den de­signer with an in­ter­est in gar­den­ing to at­tract ben­e­fi­cial wildlife. See www.kathy­vi­vian gar­den­de­ or KathyViv­gar­den on Face­book and Twit­ter. Kathy also writes a reg­u­lar blog on her web­site.

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.

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