So, January….it really is quite a bleak month, the weather is cold – really cold in some places and the thought of going outside, just isn’t on the menu. Christmas is just out of the way and you probably haven’t spent any time outside in the garden for a good few weeks, other than to pick some herbs for the Christmas dinner that is.
In terms of gardening with the little ones, there probably isn’t that much to do outside at this time of year but you can begin to get things ready for the months ahead or start to think about things to buy for your children to get them into the spirit of gardening.
It’s also normally way to cold to grow things outside at this time because we can never be sure what the weather is going to do over the next month. That said, we can always see frosts up until May (and yes, I have been caught out with that in the past) but they are normally never as harsh as the January ones.
There will always be some weeds left over from the Autumn that you could take up, as well as clearing some of the leaves that remain on the garden. Clearing these up will certainly get you in good stead before the spring comes around and you can get yourself out in the garden.
Here’s some ideas to kick start your January gardening.
Plant garlic in the ground
Over the next month or so is really the last chance to get the garlic into the ground for use this year. There are some great varieties of garlic that can still be planted. Garlic is also great to plant with the little ones as it is fairly low touch and low maintenance. Personally, I like to plant garlic in tubs, it just keeps them contained. Alternatively, they can also grow in the ground. There is some great advice from the garlic farm on the IOW
Sprinkle some ash
If you are fortunate enough to have a real fire in the home, you will probably have a fire full of ash if you have been trying to keep warm over the last few months. You’ll probably be trying to keep warm for a bit longer too so plenty to go around.
There are plenty of benefits in putting your ash into the garden as it is a natural source of potassium. You can also put it into your compost heap. We’ve put together some more information on this here.
Get your sowing Kit sorted
The start of the year is a great time to make sure that you have got all of your sowing kit to hand. As the weather warms up, the last thing that you are going to want to do is be running off to the shops to stock up on your sowing essentials. We’ve created a great page of all you need here if you want to get it delivered to your home
Last year we had a fabulous year with our berries and overall managed to pick around 5kg from our garden. T absolutely loved this and probably ate most of them as he walked around the garden. However, with the crop that did make its way back into the house, we were able to make some delicious blackberry jam that we enjoyed much into the winter. Sadly, we have run out now but I plan to get some more crop in this year so that we can make even more to last us through the winter.
Clear the beds
This one isn’t such a problem for us but those weeds still manage to grow even in the cold weather. No where near as much as the spring or the summer but still enough to make it look untidy. This is a great task to get the little ones involved with as there won’t be as many nasty weeds that cause irritation. However, we would still recommend getting some gardening gloves for them just to be safe.
Clearing out the beds now, will give you a great head start to the growing season but you will probably find that you will be doing it for the next couple of month. I would most definitely start with wherever you are going to sow those first vegetables.
Whilst all this is going on, it is important not to forget those beautiful birds that will bless you with song come the spring. A lot of people forget about them during the winter but this is when they need you most. Putting out some winter food will certainly help them with their supplies, especially when the ground is hard. Fat balls are a great way of doing this and you can make you own if you are so inclined – our birds love them!
Also, if it is a particularly cold winter, and the conditions are freezing, you’ll need to make sure that any bird baths that you may have are not frozen and there is plenty of fresh water for them to drink.
In the coming months, you will be needing the garden machinery that has had a much needed rest over the winter months. Now would be a good time to get any services that are needed so that they work to their optimum. If you have a nice lawn to take care of, it is most certainly worth seeing if the blade needs sharpening or even better, getting it replaced – it’s really not that expensive and will pay dividends in lawn care.
So whilst there is little that you can do in terms of planting, other than some really hardy plants, there is certainly lots of tasks that you can do around the garden that the little ones can help with. Clearing all those weeds from the flower beds will give you such a feeling of satisfaction and will look a lot better on the eye.
What do you get up to in the early months of the year? Drop a note in the comments below.