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Seed Potatoes

January is the time to buy seed potatoes, so please check our site for when they arrive. Later in the month you can start chitting the first earlies. If your garden is cold, wet or exposed, you may wish to start a bit later. Start chitting potatoes by placing the potatoes in empty celled seed trays or in egg boxes in a cool place and leave until the shoots to appear. Keep the potatoes in a cool place out of direct sunlight as too much warmth will make them leggy. Chitting takes about 6 weeks, by which time the shoots should be around 2.5 cm long. Take care when handling and planting not to damage the shoots. 

Sowing Early Seeds

It is possible to sow some early seeds in January. Please remember that much of what you sow will need some protection from the cold as it grows, which means you need plenty of space to grow the seedlings on. If space is short, it's best to wait until later in the year.  

One seed that is worth sowing early that can be kept on a windowsill is Chilli as they need a long growing season for them to fruit well. Chilli seeds need both heat and light to germinate so make sure it’s a warm sill or use a plug-in propagator to get started.

Tender Plants from last year

If you are over wintering plants in the greenhouse, mildew and mould can be a problem. To reduce the risk of Botrytis, increase air flow. On mild days, ventilate the greenhouse by opening all the doors and vents. Having a fungicide spray at hand can stop the spread if spotted early.

Before the worst of the weather arrives, protect tender plants such as evergreen Agapanthus, Zantedeschia (Calla lily), Canna and Dahlias. A good mulch of Manure Compost or Strulch for plants in the ground, or moving pots into a greenhouse, will always help. If the winter is mild, it may be enough to wrap the containers and/or mulch them in situ.

Summer flowering Bulbs

These will be coming into the Garden Centre and online during January and our Dahlia varieties sell out fast. Dahlias can be bought and kept dormant in a cool but frost-free place and start life indoors. You can pot them as early as February and take cuttings from the tuber or wait until mid to late March to wake them up prior to planting. This will give you much earlier flowers and reduce the risk of the tuber rotting if the weather is wet when planting.

Border Care

Many perennials can be cut back to clear off dead top growth and tidy up the borders, if you are a tidy garden person. Equally, perennials can be left unpruned until the spring, it's a matter of gardening preference. A good pair of secateurs will be best for this job.

It’s a cold one

If prolonged cold temperatures are forecast, it is worth draining water butts and making sure there is an unfrozen supply of water for the birds and a regular top up of feeders.