January is traditionally a warm month and holidays are being taken. It is important that the garden survives nicely on its own. Ensure it is weed free and that it is really well watered. Deep watering is essential. To ensure excellent growth apply or top up the mulch. Mulches keep the soil cool and moist as well as providing much needed nutrients.
The Vegetable Patch
· Sow crops of French beans, turnips, lettuce, radish, silver beet, spinach, kohl rabi, carrots and swedes.
· Lift early potatoes and use for your summer meals.
· Mulch runner beans with compost.
· Plant brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, kale, silver beet and late celery, use lots of compost.
· Marrows and pumpkins will be sending out flowers. Remember they have male and female flowers.
· Onions, garlic and shallots should be lifted when the tips go yellow. The bulbs must be dried to ensure good storage for later use.
· Asparagus. Stop cutting shoots and let them grow so the roots store energy for the next crop.
· Rhubarb should not be harvested after Christmas. Remove flower spikes and seed heads to encourage good root growth.
· Outdoor tomatoes. Ensure they are staked and tied to prevent them falling over. Control chewing insects. Remove side shoots (laterals) and any old yellowing leaves at the base. Apply a balanced fertiliser. Keep up a good regular watering cycle that will ensure even growth and ripening of tomatoes. This will also prevent the fruit splitting and the onset of blossom end rot.
· Courgettes / Zucchinis. Harvest daily to ensure a continuous crop.
· Mow regularly. Remove lawn weeds as they appear or spray with lawn weed killer.
Conservatory and Indoor Plants
· Begonias. Take care of these tender plants ensuring even temperature, good soil, good drainage, light shade and frequent watering with liquid fertiliser.
· Ensure all indoor plants are well watered. Provide nutrients by either liquid or pellets.
The Ornamental Garden
· Summer pruning of a range of flowering shrubs should be done now. Remove the branches and shoots but leave a nice framework for the shrub.
· Sow seeds for winter annual display. Wallflowers, stock, polyanthus, pansies and violas.
· Trim hedges.
· Take cuttings of a variety of shrubs and semi shrubs and place in sharp sand undercover.
· Mulch the flower garden if there is insufficient mulch on the ground.
· Remove dead heads from roses. Prune back to the first 5 leaflet leaf. Spray for pest and diseases.
· Train climbing roses by tying new canes into position and remove canes not required.
· Remove dead heads from all flowering plants and shrubs.
· Lift spring flowering bulbs and replant in an appropriate place for next year.
· Climbers. Ensure these are trained throughout summer. It is easier to do now when the stems are soft and supple rather than when they are hard and woody and likely.
· Perennials. If required ensure they are staked and tied up.
· Control thrips and red mite on a variety of plants.
· Black currants should be picked and prune out very old branches as they fruit on new wood.
· Red currents should be picked, remember they flower on the old wood.
· Tomatoes need to be tied up each week. Remove and side shoots (laterals) and older yellowing bottom leaves.
· Early ripe fruit will appear, pick it while it is firm.
· Regular watering is essential for good growth and reduction in Blossom End rot.
· Capsicums also require lots of water on a regular basis.
· Control chewing insects on each crop.