January gardening tips
Damage limitation and garden maintenance
When the weather allows, carry on clearing paths of moss and leaves.
After heavy snowfall, gently brush snow off conifers and hedges to stop the weight forcing them apart. If you have a chance, pack the branches of tender trees and shrubs with straw and secure with fleece to protect them from the cold; thick dry mulches will also protect roots from freezing conditions.
If you haven't already done this, lay old carpeting or something similar over cold frames to protect them and check the insulation in greenhouses and that heaters are working properly.
Clean and repair your garden tools, book the lawn mower in for a service and check garden furniture for any rot. When it is warm enough to brave the elements, treat sheds, fences and trellis with wood preservative; brushes and rollers are fine for most things, however a sprayer is well worth buying for tricky projects such as woven panels!
When soil conditions allow, continue to dig over beds and borders, incorporating as much organic matter as you can. Forking over not only helps prepare the soil for next year, it helps reduce pests by exposing them to hungry birds.
Weeds - sadly many will survive the cold weather so once the soil is workable, hoe away before they leap into action in the spring.
Take care not to let leaves accumulate around alpines - they will die if left damp for long. Cover bare patches around clumps with gritty compost to encourage regrowth.