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Allotment Jobs for January

January can be cold and bleak and a bit flat after Christmas. So one of my first jobs of the year is to turn my attention back to my allotment. People often say “ I guess you don’t have anything to do at the allotment for a few months then?” But I do!

Here are just a few of the jobs on my list that may help you prepare for the growing year ahead.

One of my first jobs is to check my purple sprouting. At this time of the year they can become a bit top heavy and with the wind and rain they can fall over. So I check them and if necessary I stake them and make sure they are covered as the pigeons are always looking for a good meal.

January is also a good time to spread manure or compost or any other organic matter, leaves, straw, seaweed around the plot. Feed the soils so it will feed you through the spring and coming summer months. If it’s dry enough you can rake the soil surface to break down any large lumps

If you have cauliflower growing, make sure they are protected from the frost.

And if you haven't already, prune fruit bushes; raspberries, gooseberries and currants. You can also prune grape vines now. While you do this check all stakes and ties are secure on the fruit bushes and trees. Once pruned, feed the fruit bushes.

January is also a good time to move fruit bushes if you need to. Also for lifting and splitting Rhubarb crowns, but remember Rhubarb doesn’t like to be waterlogged!

This is also a good time to clean your greenhouse too if you have one. A bucket of water and a brush and just scrub the glass on the inside and make sure it is clean and tidy. I use a dustpan brush for this job as the handle is just the right length to scrub away any green on the glass. If you plant straight into the ground in your greenhouse like I do, then think about putting a good layer of mulch down so it can settle over the next month or so.

On the days when it’s just too wet to be at the allotments, my favourite rainy day job is planning the growing year ahead. Make a list of what you would like to grow. Try to prioritize the veg that you use a lot of and that does well on your ground, that can be stored, frozen or dehydrated to take you through the hunger gap.

If you're planting potatoes, then start to look out for seed potatoes, they will start to be available to buy during January.

January is also the time to lift root veg like parsnips, swede and leeks. And a good time to weed around over winter onions and garlic and feed them.

There are always jobs to do in the garden, just not always the weather to do them. So on rainy days give the shed a tidy ready for the spring planting and if you didn’t do so at the end of the season, just spend five minutes cleaning and oiling your tools and sharpening any if needed.

One thing that's for sure is that gardening is an all year round job, and preparing now for the coming year will help you when the busy planting time comes around. So don’t neglect your garden because it’s January. Use the time wisely and be ahead of the game!

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Meet Sue & Katie

Two women. Two generations. Both mothers and lovers of the county where they live. Blogging about Dorset here at Dorset Country Life. Find out more...

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