Now is the time to prepare for a new growing year. In this blog we will take a look at ins and outs of sowing and planting fruit and vegetables in January, pruning and training, problems and general care.
Sowing & Planting Fruit & Veg
Although the weather is still cold, bare-root trees and bushes can be planted as long as the soil isn’t frozen:
- You can sow broad beans in pots in mild areas, placing them in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse.
- For early crops such as lettuces, summer brassicas (e.g. cabbages and cauliflowers), spinach, salad onions and turnips sow seeds indoors.
- Sow onion seed in a heated propagator.
January is the perfect time to prune apple and pear trees, currants and gooseberry bushes and time to prune autumn raspberries.
There are several problems you may face at this time of year and but there are ways to avoid and prevent these:
- Rodents can be an issue, place mice controls near any area storing vegetables.
- Slugs can be an issue for early seed sowings. Copper rings are effective ways of protecting from slugs. If a slug tries to cross one of the copper rings protecting shoots, a small electric shock will force the slug back. Lay down some bran, slugs also love bran and will gorge on this until they become dehydrated and bloated making them easy pickings for birds. Another alternative option is to make a slug trap using cheap beer – they’re attracted to the smell. Sink a half-filled container into the ground, with the rim just above soil level. Cover with a loose lid to stop other creatures falling in and empty regularly.
- Protect brassicas from pigeons and check for grey mould and downy mildew.
- Remove any remaining plant debris from your vegetable plot. If any material is diseased such as blight-infected potatoes, onions with white rot or any crops with rust, do not compost this. Burn or bin the diseased material.
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General Care & Info
For fruit, keep checking on stored fruit to remove any rotten pieces. Ensure tree stakes and ties are firm and sound and apply winter washes to fruit trees and bushes and only harvest citrus fruits once fully matured, lower indoor grapevine stems to ensure an even bud-break.
To care for vegetables such as brussels sprouts stake or earth up any that look leggy and vulnerable with the biggest and lowest down the stalk to be picked first.
Prepare seed beds by covering them with clear ploythene, cloches or fleece to warm to soil before sowing and when gardening in wet weather lay planks of wood down to avoid compacting the soil. To improve drainage in heavy soils if the weather is particularly wet, work in lots of organic matter and grit. If the weather is more reliable and is dry and frosty, heavy soils can be left exposed as the frost will kill pests and improve the soils structure through continual freezing and thawing of the water in the soil.
Start saving eggs boxes if you planing on potato chitting next month and now is the time to source your seeds and plan a rotation system for vegetable plots to ensure the same crops are not grown in the same beds year after year. This helps to prevent disease build-up.
For any further information on any of our products or for advise, please call our Sales Team on 0330 058 5068 or visit our website.