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New Year action plan

There may not be much happening in the garden in January, but there’s still plenty that you can be getting on with – burning off some of those Christmas calories at the same time.

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Get ahead with key winter gardening jobs now, and you’ll be all set for the planting and sowing frenzy that’s just around the corner in spring.

Here are 10 jobs that you can be getting on with in January.

Clean up your pots

Brush off dirt with a hard-bristled brush. Check for damage and cracks, discarding any unusable pots, which can then be used as crocks.

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Mulch for spring bulbs

Open up the compost heap and sprinkle a thin layer of garden compost as mulch. This will not only enrich the soil, but add a dark backdrop to set off the flowers of spring bulbs.

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Collect snails

Tidy up around rocks, stacks of pots and piles of wood where snails hibernate and dispose of them. You may also see cabbage white chrysalises on fleece stored in the shed.

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Clean the greenhouse

Take the time to get everything shipshape, cleaning greenhouse glazing inside and out to get rid of dirt that has built up over the past year.

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Make willow plant supports

They’re easy to make, and make attractive features too. Find out how to make willow supports.

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Get your pruning done

Branches will hang lower when they’re full of leaves, so it’s worth cutting back now while still bare. It’s a good time to prune apples and pears, but wait until summer and the sap has risen to prune stone fruits.

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Warm the soil for sowing

Cover the ground with black plastic to trap the heat of the sun or put up tunnel cloches before extra-early outdoor sowings of rocket and spring salad mixes next month.

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Tidy up roses

Train climbing varieties to wires with twine, taking out old and crossing wood and tie in vigorous shoots for this year’s flowers.

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Order in supplies

Source bark chippings for paths from local councils and tree surgeons now, as there is plenty about.

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Tidy up your shed and tools

If you want an excuse to escape to the shed or garage on really cold days, have a good tidy up and sort out those tools. Make more space for yourself by putting up hooks, so you can hang your spades and forks out of the way.

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