Happy New Year!
Jobs in the garden at any time of the year are weather dependant. If you are planning activities then it is a good idea to keep an eye on the weather forecast and react accordingly. If the weather is mild there are tasks that can be done during the winter. However if bad weather is forecast it may be necessary to cover plants with fleece or brush snow off polytunnels and greenhouses.
Some crops can be sown now in a heated propagator or window sill but only if you have a greenhouse, cold frame or polytunnel to grow them in once they have germinated. Onions and shallots require a long season to grow from seed are best sown now. Leeks also benefit from an early start.
Hardy peas and broad beans can be sown into pots in an unheated greenhouse, polytunnel or cold frame. They should be ready to plant into the garden in March. They are vulnerable to being eaten by mice so make sure they are well protected.
It is not too late to plant garlic, if you have not planted it yet it is worth giving it a go. We have had good results here at the Botanics but garlic planted in November has always grown bigger. January is also a good time to plant rhubarb and new fruit trees and bushes.
If the ground is not frozen it is possible to prepare soil for spring planting. Well-rotted compost or manure can be dug into the soil or applied as a mulch on the surface.
Apple and pear trees can be pruned now to maintain their structure and ensure a good supply of fruit in years to come. Make sure you remove any dead or diseased branches.