The Shedstore Blog's Gardening To Do List - January
Posted: September 24, 2019
Categories: Seasonal Gardening Guides
The key tasks for an organised, growing, healthy garden for this month are:
1. Check dahlia and begonia tubers in store
A regular check of your stored tubers is necessary as rot can develop quickly and take hold. This is especially important if your dahlias are in a cold shed that may be prone to frost. Check them all, pushing and probing to look for soft patches. If you find any such patches, discard the whole tuber ( a bit drastic) or cut away the soggy bit and dust with sulphur powder to stop the rot.
2. Feed the birds
At this time of year, bugs have all but disappeared deep into cracks and crevices while worms have delved deeper into the soil. This leaves our feathered friends will less sources of food and need your support. Put extra food out for the birds, looking for high energy mixes ideal for this time of year. Ensure birdbaths are cleaned every week and filled with fresh water. Keep an eye out for them frosting over.
3. Clean pots, trays and propagators
While the demands of the garden are less time-consuming, take the chance to clean out your pots, trays and propagators. Pick a dry day to give all your accessories a thorough clean, ready for spring. It will be here quicker than you think.
4. Remove molehills
It is important to remove molehills so the surrounding grass isn't deprived of sun or air. Believe it or not, the soil produced by molehills is actually fantastic and, once upon a time, used in potting compost mixes as it tends to be bug-free and there are very few weed seeds because the soil is from beneath the surface. Gather up this soil for use in containers, or wait for a dry day and brush it away. Though it may seem more humane to use live traps, the RSPCA and RHS point out that live traps can result in a terrified mole left trapped for hours. If the molehills persist, you may need to call in a professional.
5. Remove algae from paths
Finally, the hours of daylight are getting longer but the sun is still weak and low. This results in increased algae growth on paths and patios. Not only is it unsightly, but it can become dangerously slippy. So, pressure wash all hard surfaces in readiness for spring and increased footfall. Just make sure you pressure wash when the weather forecast isn’t predicting freezing conditions.
6. Remove leaves from crowns of herbaceous plants
Despite removing as many leaves as possible in autumn, clumps still inevitably collect in the crowns of herbaceous plants. If left alone they can cause the shoots of your plants to rot. Carefully lift out the leaves and put them into the compost heap.
7. Check tree, shrub and rose ties
Have a bit of a tidy around all your plants and trees and check any with ties and stakes. They often work loose over autumn - particularly if it's been windy - or, if you haven't checked them over the year, may even be strangling your plants.
8. Keep turning over your veg beds
If you've got empty raised beds, keep turning over the soil and weeding. This will decrease the number of weeds you'll need to tackle over the coming growing seasons.
9. Move shrubs
If your new Christmas spade and fork are calling you and the soil isn’t frozen or waterlogged, you can still move shrubs. It may be a case of a shrub being in the wrong place, growing too large for its spot, a complete redesign of the garden or you simply have to get those stainless-steel blades dirty. Do it carefully, plant well by firming the shrub in. As the plants are in hibernation, they shouldn’t notice that they have been moved.
10. Recycle the Christmas tree
Don’t just chuck your Christmas tree behind the shed for it to turn brown. Check your council's green waste services as they might have a recycling scheme, or even pick up them up from you. Another option is to cut the tree into small pieces, put them through a shredder and use as a mulch around your camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas. Plants that love acid soils adore a Christmas tree mulch. You can't replant a Christmas tree as it has been separated from its root ball.