January is a great month to begin focussing on fruit & vegetables. Not only is it the month which has become associated with the commencement of healthy eating plans, but it is also a great month to focus on fruit & vegetables in your garden. If you take the time to pay attention to fruit trees and bushes and vegetable varieties in your garden in January, you will reap the benefits of delicious home-grown fruit & veg later in the year.
January is the perfect time for bare-root planting. Bare-rooted soft fruit plants such as raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries and currants can be planted out now, as well as fruit trees. Just avoid planting out if the ground is frozen, but so far so good on that front with the weather we are having this January. We have really lovely varieties of raspberry, blackberry and gooseberry canes in stock now.
Now is also a good time to prune established gooseberry and currant plants, cutting back side branches to about three buds close to the main stem.
For apple and pear trees, it’s also a great time to prune away dead, damaged and diseased branches or congested growth. Be more cautious of early-flowering varieties, that you don’t prune away too much fruit-producing branches.
Strawberry plants in pots could be brought into a glass house, conservatory, garden room, or kept under glass to encourage early flowering and fruiting. Rhubarb can be covered with a bucket to help force an early yield.
January is a good time to clear up vegetable plots, removing any remaining crops and weeds, and digging in some rich manure-based or seaweed-based composts. Be careful to stay clear of planted asparagus when you dig, so as not to damage the growing spears. You should cover any brussels sprouts or cabbages with netting to prevent the birds from consuming and damaging all your precious harvest. From now on you can also visit Botanic Home & Garden centre to start buying your onions, garlic, potatoes, for planting in early Spring. You can also go through your remaining seeds from last year, to plan out what you need to buy at Botanics this year. It’s best to use fresh seed, but some will stand up to using the following year – check if they are still hard and fresh looking, and compost any seeds which have become wet or mildewed. Aim to grow your new vegetables in different plots, using a crop rotation method to allow nutrients in the ground to replenish each year.
It’s a great time to focus on fruit & vegetables. What a great way to start the year!