Self Sufficiency Garden – January

I got to head out to a couple of garden centres the other day.  Both looked extremely sad and lacking in anything remotely plant or flower based.  These places always look so forlorn at this time of year as the Christmas decks are cleared away, boxes half packed up and half unpacked, and odd sale items all over the place.  Along with a rather sad menagerie of bulbs and bird seed.

In  our garden I’ve managed to spend some time (in between the gales and sheets of rain) having a general tidy up, hoeing over and adding compost to the raised beds and even pulling up the dahlia plants.  Whether they survive or not is another matter but always good to have a go!

I’ll add my photo’s at the beginning of each post so if you haven’t got time to read you can quickly glance at the garden’s update in photo’s.

As always, let me know what you think.  Is it useful or just a pain to read?  

January’s Update

Raised Beds

I think the cabbage and swede plants aren’t going to grow much further in this weather, now we’re in the depths of winter, but I wonder if I left them whether they would pick up again in Spring?  Should I leave them or ditch them?  What would you do?

I’m still harvesting salad leaves from one bed but I’ve not composted the rest to make way for sowing the onions and garlic bulbs.  Yes, I’m about a month too late (or too early depending on whether you’re an autumn or Spring planter), but I say heck to that.  We haven’t had many frosts yet so I think if I get the garlic in and cover them with fleece they should be good to go.

Grow House

Let’s not talk about this area…throughout all these gusty winds and general gales the grow house hasn’t moved an inch, let alone fallen over and yet all that is holding it down are some tent pegs.  I think it’s because the whole thing is so constantly wet all the time it’s actually weighing the whole thing down!  Menace thing that it is, it is at least keeping pots frost free (for now).  Nothing and no way could anything be grown or even protected in there because it’s just too darn damp.  I was going to plant my sweetpea seeds until I realised that they just won’t do any good in this wet tent so I’ll leave sowing them for now.


I have now pruned both the apple and plum espaliers ready for year two’s growth.  I didn’t realise I should have done this in September.  I just assumed that because I planted and pruned them this time last yr, that I should prune them again this yr at the same time.  The first year’s growth is going well, with many buds already preparing for spring time.

Other areas

Everything else is asleep apart from the bulbs starting to appear.

Front Garden

I’ve come up with an idea for the front garden.  I’m going to grow a privet hedge at the end to join it to the one running along the side, effectively enclosing (very loosely) the whole garden with either privet or hazelnut hedge, affording much needed cover (and privacy) and shelter to birds.  Then, I’m going to plant three native trees, in front of the newly planted privet.  And then in front of that I’ll add bee friendly perennials.  I shall remove the silly circle that currently sits smack bang in the lawn to make mowing easier.  I’m then going to add a small ponds (fish-less) towards the corner of the garden and that will hopefully all encourage more (any) hedgehogs, foxes and more insects into the garden.  It will also help towards the areas I’m growing fruit and veg for pollination and pest resistance.  I’m conscious the privet will add more upkeep than the current fence but the amount of time we spend every year pruning the established shrubs is silly, so no further work will be added that’s for sure!

My top three jobs to do in January:

  1. I’m going to need to get those shrubs up in the front garden as soon as possible so I can bare root plant the privet plants (once bought).
  2. To sow the garlic bulbs
  3. Start to chit the potatoes ready for early Spring

Garden jobs to do around the garden in January:

  • Take blackcurrant cuttings (if you have an established plant)
  • Rake up the leaves from the lawn and continue to compost them
  • Keep feeding the birds and the water supply ice free
  • Plant rhubarb
  • Buy bare rooted fruit trees and plant now (unless ground too saturated).

What will you be up to in the garden this month?


16 responses to “Self Sufficiency Garden – January

  1. I enjoyed reading this and looking at the pictures. Have recently moved and have a small but very empty garden. The raised beds look very inspiring.

    • Welcome to the blog! Thank you for reading. Small gardens are great – easy to manage and there will be loads you can do with it, so I’m very excited for you. I chose to do raised beds after I’d experimented with just one over a couple of years. They have many benefits – one being you can make them as small or as large as you want but they enable you to control the growing material, like compost, much easier. They also require very little (if any) digging.
      Good luck with your garden, I’ll look forward to reading about it 🙂

  2. So neat and tidy! I’d leave the slow growers till you need the space for something else. They’ll probably pick back up when the daylight stretches back out a bit.

    A fishless pond: will the wild birds keep the mosquito larvae down or are they not so much a problem where you are?

    • I know! And who wants neat and tidy?! Not me, which is why I want to ‘mess’ things about a bit.
      So I should leave the cabbages and swede plants in then eh? Okay, seems like a good plan!
      It’s a north facing garden so I don’t think even in the height of summer the mosquitoes will be a problem, but it’s something I hadn’t thought abut – so thank you very much for pointing me to that potential issue.
      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  3. You’ve set yourself quite a bit of work, hopefully the weather will be kinder to you this month. Being further inland than you we’ve escaped the worst of the weather in the Humber region.

    As for what I am going to be doing in the garden this month, more tidying up and the seeds have arrived from The Real Seed Catalogue, so I can get the tomatoes, leeks and chillis started 🙂

    • Apologies for my rather late reply to this.
      I thought maybe you guys had got some of the flooding so pleased to hear all okay!

      I shall look forward to hearing how your seed sowing goes. I’ve never grown leeks before but I think that’s probably because I’m not a huge fan of them. Are you growing any particular varieties this yr Chilli wise?

      BTW – just out of interest so you know New Holland at all? Was looking at a Bungalow over that way the other day.

      • I don’t know New Holland personally but, that said I’ve heard more bad than good about it from others. Sorry can’t be more help.

        As well as the Little Elf chillis that are now 10-12cm tall, I’ve sown my Cayenne, patio chilis (variety unknown) and the Ohnivec from Real Seed Catalogue which apparently produce very long chillis. I’m also going to grow Hungarian Hot Wax with school, with.a.view to selling the plants to raise funds for Gardening Club.

  4. So nice to see the little bulb shoots coming up. I have some hyacinths and paperwhites inside; outdoor ones will have to wait until after our cold snap is over. I’ll be planting hellebores soon, had just got a few of them out before the temperature plummeted. Your garden looks great!

    • It’s even better this week! Loads of bulbs are starting to show themselves. That’s if I can keep the squirrel away from them long enough! I had no idea they ate bulbs.
      I’m really interested to hear about your hellebores. You dig them up? I thought they were winter hardy? I planted a couple of Christmas Hellebores in October and so far no flowering but they are only small.

  5. Your raised beds are great. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to get round to it, but this year I’m going to make some. I love the idea of no-dig.
    I agree with you about garden centres, the ones round here sell fewer and fewer plants each year. They are full of cheap books and gifts- anything but plants.

    • That is great to hear! Let me know how you get on and if you need any help just get in contact,
      How much space do you have? In fact I’ve started to follow your blog so will look forward to hearing your updates. Good luck 🙂

      • Thank you Sophie it is great to hear that you are following my blog. I am going to have to wait for my raised beds until the ground dries out a bit, we have had the wettest January on record. I also have to wait for my son-in-law to have time to help me. So along with all the other urgent projects, once spring comes I will get busy and tackle this.

  6. Lovely idea to plant more hedge – the hedge at the front of our place is just constantly busy with birds. (Let’s not mention the rabbits who also live in it…!)

    • That’s great to hear because it’s exactly the reason I decided to opt for hedging. In fact more hedges and less fences everywhere I say! (Unless of course you need rabbit proofing!) 😉

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