WHAT TO DO NOW
January is a great time to plant trees, shrubs and hardy flowers, but always work with the weather, leaving spades in the shed when the ground is soggy or frozen. Cold days are ideal for clearing up especially on the veg patch, where the removal of all the old brassicas breaks the lifecycle of overwintering aphids and whiteflies so fewer come back in the summer.
Keep off your lawn during frosty weather as the weight of your footprints causes the ice-bound blades to rapidly defrost and turn black. Although this won’t kill them, you’ll be looking at the black footprints until spring.
If the thermometer dips below freezing float a ball on your pond, which as it blows about acts as an icebreaker ensuring air reaches the surface. My favourite job during frosty snaps is pruning. Once you start the pleasure of seeing clear bare earth and tidy and tame borders is very moreish. It’s also very warming especially if you burn the clippings of roses in a brazier.
It’s an ideal time to buy dormant mail-order ‘bareroot’ plants, such as roses and trees without compost or a pot. Not only does this reduce their cost, it also cuts down on the unrecyclable plastic containers. Plant as soon as they are delivered, or if the ground is frozen or it’s raining unwrap the tops leaving the roots covered in compost or until the weather improves.