• Tips for January 2021 December 29, 2020 by Jim Buttress

    Prune established Gooseberry, Red and White Currant bushes now. Remove dead wood and low lying shoots, then prune side shoots to two buds from their base. Shorten the tips of the main branches by one quarter, pruning to an outward facing bud.

    Pot on autumn sown Sweet Peas into 7.5 cm (3″) pots if the roots are circling inside smaller containers. Pinch out tops to prevent plants getting leggy.

    Seed potatoes can be chitted from now onwards. Place in trays or egg boxes. Store in a light, cool, frost free spot.

    You can winter-prune Wisteria this month or next, shortening shoots that were pruned last summer to two or three buds from older wood.

    For an early harvest, force Rhubarb by covering crowns with a layer of straw and a forcing jar, upturned plant pot or bucket.

    Spray fruit trees with a plant oil winter wash. Cover nearby grass and plants before spraying to avoid scorch.

    For early crops, sow onions, leeks, cauliflower and lettuce under cover now.

    Complete winter digging of bare beds and cover dug ground with compost followed by strong black polythene to keep off the worst of the weather and to warm the soil ready for early crops.

    Some bulbs purchased for indoor displays can be reused in the garden. Remove spent flowerheads.

    When pruning apple trees, avoid removing more than 20% of the crown in one winter. The more you prune, the more foliage grows at the expense of fruit.

    Happy and safe New Year.