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WAHGA Jobs for January

Updated: Jan 2

What an interesting December - so mild that the grass is still growing and my peonies and rhubarb are already sprouting! 

January is the perfect time for gardening, there are numerous pruning, cutting back, transplanting and planting opportunities.  So let’s hope for some crisp, sunny days to encourage us to get busy outside as well as indoors.


  • Given the weather, and potential for some cold, frosty days, harvest root veg you still have in the ground and store in a dry, cool dark place such as a garage or shed.    

  • Brassicas are frost hardy so continue to harvest sprouts and kale.   Remove any yellowing leaves so that fungal diseases don't take hold.

  • Salad crops including rocket and spinach are still available to harvest.

  • Broad beans that were planted in autumn have grown well, and may already need some support.


  • Divide rhubarb crowns if they have grown very large.  Spare crowns will go quickly if you put them on the allotment Sharing Table!  For an early crop of rhubarb, cover one of your crowns with, ideally, an upturned terracotta pot.  This environment will result in very pink, sweet stems of rhubarb which are a spring treat.  Don’t force all your rhubarb in this way otherwise you won’t have any for later in the season.

  • It’s the perfect time to plant bare root fruit plants, such as raspberries, currant bushes, fruit trees.   You can also move fruit plants now, while they’re dormant. Planting now gives the plants a chance to develop a strong root system to support the needs of the plant in spring and summer.   

  • It is also the best time for pruning many fruit plants - cut autumn fruiting raspberries to the ground, prune currants into a goblet shape, and prune apple and pear trees.   Stone fruit trees, such as plum and cherry, should be pruned in late spring/early summer after flowering.

  • Figs trees must be pruned when they are fully dormant so now is the perfect time.   They just need to be thinned to allow good airflow, and keep them to a size which allows easy harvesting of the fruit.  


Get ready for the next growing season.  Go through you seed packets and buy seeds for sowing in 2024 now.  

Clean seed trays and cloches.

Though there is plenty of planting of mature plants that can be done at this time of year, do not be tempted to sow any seeds in the ground, unless you can cover with a cloche, as they are likely to rot in the damp, cold weather.  If you are lucky enough to have a greenhouse then you can consider sowing towards the end of the month, but unless you have somewhere to keep them warm and covered it’s probably best to wait until February or March to start sowing seeds. 


  • If you haven’t done so already, cut back herbaceous perennials such as penstemon, rudbeckia, persicaria and leucanthemum.  Tidy up around the plants and mulch in a doughnut style around the plant.  Roses can also be pruned now, and as they are hungry plants, they will also benefit from a good mulch.

  • Summer flowering shrubs can be pruned now, but leave spring flowering bushes until they have flowered.  Wisteria has a specific pruning regime to ensure it flowers well, and should be pruned in February, though late January is also fine! 

  • You can still pick up some heavily discounted spring flowering bulbs. Plant now for flowers in spring.  It’s not too late!

  • It’s the perfect time to plant bare root hedging and trees.  Do plan tree planting carefully, looking at the final height and spread.   A native hedge provides good carbon capture, and benefits wildlife, so might be a good low cost alternative to a tree, and is easy to maintain with annual pruning - no tree surgeons required!  A common mistake is planting trees too close to a fence, allow at least a metre from the boundary to ensure the plant has a chance to grow in all sides.


In the garden leave out high energy food for birds such as fat balls and sunflower seeds. A clean bowl of fresh water is very welcome for birds as a bathing and drinking spot.   Try not to disturb wood and leaf debris as these may be housing overwintering insects, slow worms, toads, and perhaps even a hedgehog. 

Think about putting in a pond now so it’s established in time for spawning season.


  • Continue to weed and mulch the beds in your garden and allotment.

  • On the allotment, cover empty beds with a layer of well rotted manure, sheet of cardboard, or homemade compost as this will help protect and improve the soil over the winter and warm it for planting in early spring.

  • Sort through your garden tools and, if you’ve got one, tidy up the shed.   If you do have a shed think about installing a water butt, or adding an additional one.   

  • Keep composting!   The bigger the pile, the warmer it will get,  chop up anything you add, as smaller vegetation will compost more quickly.  Pick up a bin from Freecycle, the show at the recycling centre has a good supply or make one from pallets.

  • Plan your allotment - draw out and plan the beds with what you’re going to plant and where. Think about what went well last year, what new crops you’d like to try and what isn’t worth growing again.   Once spring arrives it will then be all systems go!


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