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The coldest month is a time for protecting your garden from being ravaged by from attacks by the winds, freezing rains and cold. It’s a month for curling up and staying warm but there’s work to be done.


  • Improve your soil by spreading compost or manure over beds and digging in.
  • Clear away dead foliage from perennials.
  • Remove weeds from borders; ensure to dig deeply to remove roots of perennial weeds.
  • Pot up containers with spring bedding displays.
  • Mulch Tender Plants: Put plenty of mulch around tender shrubs to keep their roots from freezing and make sure potted contains are well wrapped in bubble wrap of fleece or move them to a sheltered spot or into a shed. 

Fruit & Veg

  • Check crops that are in store and discard any showing signs of rot.
  • Warm Vegetable Patches: You could start warming up the soil of next year’s vegetable patch now and give your growing season a head start, put a sheet of clear polythene over the ground and the sun will start to warm the soil gradually and the rain is kept off to stop the ground getting sodden. 

Around the Garden

  • Wash out flowerpots and seed trays.
  • If snow falls, knock it off the branches of your evergreen shrubs and conifers to stop the branches breaking under its weight.
  • Feed the Birds: Little birds need enormous amounts of energy at this time of year, just to survive the bitterly cold nights. Help them survive the cold spell by leaving out plenty of high fat foods like lard balls and oily seeds like black sunflower seeds and nyger seeds. Finding water sources can be difficult when it’s freezing out so fill your bird baths and remove any ice in the mornings. 


  • January is a good time to prune pear and apple trees in particular. If the branches of any of your trees have been damaged by winds cut them right back. Damaged branches can be tied and in some cases they will repair themselves but it’s more likely to end in a nasty fungal infection and further damage to the tree so avoid this if you can. 
  • Recycle your Christmas tree. Almost every local authority has a free Christmas tree recycling service in your local area. Some charities now offer the same service for a small fee. The trees are mulched and the mulch is reused. There are no excuses not to use these services. 


  • Don’t walk on the grass! Frosty grass is a beautiful sight to behold but keep off it if you don’t want to create ugly black footprints as you bruise the grass. Walking on wet grass can be just as damaging and lead to soil compaction so spread your wait across a plank if you must walk on sodden ground. 
  • Don’t force rhubarb – sure you can, but it’s a bit too early. Wait another few weeks and let the plants build up some strength first – you’ll be glad you did. 
  • Don’t overwater houseplants – it’s winter, they don’t need as much and freezing cold water can shock delicate root systems. Let water sit for a few hours to reach room temperature before you water your plants. 
  • Don’t trust a pigeon – He’s after your greens. Pigeons are OBSESSED with winter greens and brassicas so check your netting is secure if you don’t want them gobbled up.