January is upon us already and for those of us that love gardening, especially in the Northern hemisphere, there is’int a whole lot that we can do at this early stage. Right now, we can prepare to sow ( indoors in seed trays ) what vegetable plants that we intend to grow later on outside in our raised beds or backgardens. There are very little gardening jobs for January, as temperatures are very low, sunlight is at a minimum and there is no will or appetite to get busy digging or preparing our soil for spring planting. Strange as though it may seem, that could all change as we go forward and I suspect that most of you know what I an referring to. Climate change is happening, whether we like it or not, although some commentators state that there is no such thing.
We can all make up our own minds as to whether this is factual or over hyped, but I know for myself that there is some truth to this phenonomen and I am not a scientist or weather expert. I have witnessed my own events to back-up this commentary and I have seen it myself at first hand. I have planted daffodils some years ago and this year, they were starting to sprout in October. Normally that should not be happening until the end of Dec. but its getting earlier and earlier every year. In the fall of last year, I planted some spring bulbs ( Tulips, narcissus etc. ) in pots and window boxes, but I decided to keep them locked away in a dark shed and covered them with black plastic mats to block out the light, but it was of no use. They were also sprouting or shooting and that should not be happening until end Jan. or mid Feb.
This is an article that appeared in a local newspaper recently and it shows a daffodil farmer, with fields of mature daffodil flowers in mid November but unfortunately, there was no market for them at that stage. I wonder if we asked him about climate change, what do we think his answer might be… I suspect that he may have to set up a cold storage unit to store these, for when they will come into demand, say sometime around Feb. – March. That is certainly an issue going forward, that this farmer will have to consider carefully. We all have to embrace change ( progressive change) at some stage or other, but when it’s enforced upon us, we don’t seem to like it.
Gardening jobs for January;
Like I mentioned above, we could begin to start planting some seeds in trays and leave to germinate on a window sill for later planting. If we have a greenhouse and we are living in a moderate climate zone, where temperatures do not reach extremes, we could by all means be very busy in there. If possible, we could be doing an amount of preperation work in this facility, which would really progress our vegetable growing, for when the weather allows. This exercise is all about timing, we do not need to plant our seeds too early either, just in case Mother Nature, does’nt oblige and then we are left with trays of mature seedlings and it’s still not conducive to planting them outdoors. The problem is, the inside temperatures are nice and warm for the seeds and they will start to sprout, thinking that it’s already springtime. They will grow tall, scraggly and leggy as they strive for natural sunlight and as a result may be rendered useless for planting, thus coming to nothing when we plant them outside.
Jobs for outside;
Going towards the end of January and weather permitting, we could have a look around outside and see if there are any obvious jobs that need attention. For instance, if there are still some leaves lying around, these could be collected and put into our compost piles or heaps. Alternatively we could shred them along with other brambles, fallen branches, tall grass or decaying weeds that may be in our gardens. The soil could be turned and enriched with soil amendments like organic fertiliser, bonemeal, farmyard manure or natural compost that we made ourselves. If we could cover that prepared area with black plastic, this would be of enormous benefit to the soil. It would allow the ground to dry up a little faster, prevent any further rain or snow from damaging the soil and would prevent the added nutrients from being washed away. Leave for 4-6 weeks and we are good to sow by then.
Gardening jobs to consider;
For the beginner or indeed for the long term gardener, it may be a good idea to decide on building some raised beds for our vegetable gardening. This system of gardening will create a fantastic method for all of or gardening needs. They are relatively easy to build or construct, they will last for decades and will reduce the work and garden preperation considerably. Just like we have been discussing gardening jobs for January above, if we have these raised beds in situ, the maintenance required at springtime is practically zero. From an aesthetical aspect they really bring some great organisation and easy management to the equation.
Some other jobs that may need attention might be to give our greenhouse or polytunnel a ‘spring clean’ both inside and outside. There always seems to be a covering of green algae which sticks to the glass panels and also to the plastic of our tunnels. By cleaning this thoroughly, we will enable these indoor garden facilities to operate at their optimum best by allowing the suns rays to penetrate in full. During this cleaning exercise, we can leave all doors and windows open to the full, thus allowing for the stale air to escape and let the fresh air to flow through and invigorate the inside.
I trust that this information is useful and informative for those of us wishing to get started our gardening tasks as soon as we posssibly can. The fact that we may not as yet be able to start our gardening proper, by doing some of the above will actually put a spring in our step. These chores will kick start the beginning of our gardening year and will give us a flavour of what is before us. As ever, feel free to take part in the conversation, using the comments section down below, or if you would rather contact us through email, you can do so here…