Jobs to do in January

Prepare for a new growing year

Pruning a redcurrant bushNow’s a great time to prune soft fruit bushes such as currants and gooseberries – especially new bushes or cordons. It’s also the season to winter prune apples and pears.

Sowing and planting



  • Sow broad beans in pots in mild areas, placing them in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse.

  • Sow seed indoors for early crops eg: lettuces, summer brassicas (e.g. cabbages and cauliflowers), spinach, salad onions and turnips.

  • Sow onion seed in a heated propagator.

Pruning and training


Pruning autumn-fruiting raspberry canes down to the ground in winterPrevention

  • Protect early seed sowings from slugs, such as with cloches. The most effective method of environmentally friendly slug control is to collect them by hand (the best time to catch them is at night) and release them in a local wood.

  • Protect brassicas from pigeons.

  • Look out for grey mould and brassica downy mildew on brassicas.

  • Remove all remaining plant debris from the vegetable plot. Do not compost any diseased material such as blight-infected potatoes, onions suffering from white rot and any crops with rust. Burn or bin the diseased material.

  • Check apples for canker and prune out.

General care


  • Keep checking stored fruits and remove rotten ones.

  • Ensure tree stakes and ties are firm and sound.

  • Harvest citrus fruits once mature.

  • Lower indoor grapevine stems for even bud-break.

  • Apply a top dressing of sulphate of potash to all fruits and nuts.

Harvesting staked Brussels sprouts

  • Stake or earth up Brussels sprouts stalks that look leggy and vulnerable to wind rock. Pick the biggest sprouts from low down the stalks first.

  • Force chicory to produce plump leafy heads.

  • Prepare seed beds, covering them with a cold frame, cloches or re-used fleece to warm up the soil before sowing.

  • Improve drainage of heavy soils by working in lots of organic matter. Grit will only be effective when used in conjunction with organic matter.

  • When gardening on wet soils work from a plank of wood, rather than treading on the bed, to avoid compacting the soil.

  • Save egg boxes as they will come in handy for potato chitting next month. Source your seed potatoes if you have not already done so.

  • Plan a rotation system for vegetable plots to ensure the same crops are not grown in the same beds year after year and help prevent build-up of disease.

Gardeners' calendar

Find out what to do this month with our gardeners' calendar

Advice from the RHS

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.