Celebrations are over, the commute is back and the weather is making you want to stay under the duvet indefinitely.

But what about your gardens, smallholdings and allotments? Now’s the time to wrap up warm, pull on those boots and begin preparations to make this the most fruitful year you’ve had so far.

January jobs

Check everything over – The winter weather can be hard on your outdoor equipment and structures so cast an eye over your sheds, greenhouses and hosepipes. Repair any obvious breakages and protect anything that looks like it might struggle over the next couple of months.

Spread the s**t – Use well rotted compost or manure on your empty vegetable beds. You want the soil to be in tip-top condition when you come to plant things out. Dig the beds over to aerate the soil – but be careful, if the soil is frozen or waterlogged leave it alone until the weather improves.

Clean Up – When the planting season begins you won’t have time to do much else so make sure your pots, trays and tools are clean and organised ready for the busy times. You’ll feel so much better when your potting bench is dirt free and ready for action – even if it only stays that way for a short time!

Make a plan – With a cup of tea (it’s dry January remember) sit down with a good gardening book and get organised. Decide what you want to grow this year – learning from previous successes and mistakes – or if you’re totally new to the growing world then pick whatever you want, even if it just looks pretty! Order seeds and draw diagrams and I can guarantee it will set you up for a great year ahead.

Sow Indoors – Get a head start by sowing some seeds indoors. Try broad beans, salad leaves, spinach, leeks and onions for the healthy new you in 2014. Nothing tastes better than home-grown organic fruits and veg!

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Something New – Try something new this year. If you like the idea of growing something unusual or for the first time, have a go. The gardening world is full of hints and tips on what to do – but going off piste can be the most rewarding part of growing your own produce.

So who said January is always miserable? Get on it now and reap the rewards throughout 2014! Good luck.

 

If you would like to share your gardening pictures this year then do forward to [email protected] and we’ll publish the best ones each month. Our favourite pic of the year will win a TGUK goody-bag!

Happy Snapping!