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Recommended Tasks and Hints for January 2021

Although the weather has been pretty dire of late here are some of the jobs that you may consider for January.

1. Brush leaves off all hard surfaces. They can make paths and patios very slippery when wet so rake them up and collect in black bin bags or a chicken wired cage where you can leave them to rot down and make a good free leafmould mulch.

2. Tidy the shed. Take everything out and think about whether you used it during the past year. The Conservation Foundation (conservationfoundation.co.uk) takes donations of broken tools for prisoners to repair and then go to local schoolchildren and community groups. Wall hangers are good for keeping your remaining tools tidy.

3. Mulch your soil. Whether it's in the flower bed or the vegetable garden, once you've pulled up the plants at the end of the season it's well worth mulching the bare soil with organic matter such as old bagged compost or your own special mix. The worms will soon drag it into the soil for you and the soil structure won't be damaged by digging

4. Cut back borders. It's good to leave plants with seedheads for as long as possible to provide food and shelter for wildlife. However, by the turn of the year the seeds may be gone and the wet and windy weather has left the plants looking a mess. Cut the stems down to ground level and be careful not to damage and emerging from the earth. The stems can be chopped up to help them rot down quicker in your compost heap.

5. Check plants in the cold frame. It's worth checking plants that are overwintering in the coldframe to remove any dead leaves or flowers that could get grey mould (botrytis) Water lightly if necessary.

6. Plant bare roots. Hedging, trees, roses and fruit are commonly available as bare root plants at this time of year and are generally cheaper.

7. Start chitting your seed potatoes. Old egg cartons are ideal . Keep cool and light.

8. Plant Garlic

9. Hardy salad leaves. Rocket, mizuna, corn salad and chard will grow throughout the winter.

10. Force rhubarb.

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