Sowing, Planting and Harvesting in January

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We know it’s tempting to stay indoors after indulging in all those festive goodies but weed growth at this time of year is non-existent, so just a few hours outside will bring everything up to scratch and ensure everything remains looking good for weeks. A bit of fresh air and exercise also gives us the much needed ‘feel good factor’ that we crave after all the dark and cosy nights in over Christmas.

Don’t forget we can recycle your Christmas Tree
If you have a garden shredder then you will probably be shredding your own tree to make useful composting material. If not, then we will happily recycle your Christmas tree for you. Just bring it up to Coolings The Gardeners Garden Centre, Rushmore Hill before the 19th January. While you’re here why not choose a new season houseplant to revitalise your home and fill the void of all the Christmas decorations.

If time is limited in the garden this month, here are our top five tips:

1) If you want to move plants in your garden it’s best to do it now when they’re still dormant.
2) Prune deciduous trees and shrubs if the weather permits
3) Plant new roses
4) Purchase your seed potatoes ready for chitting in a light, frost free shed or garage
5) After heavy rain, spike your lawn with a garden fork to aid drainage

If you have a little more time to spare…

If you purchased a pot grown Christmas tree in December, with the aim of growing it on, for best chance of success be sure to transplant it into the garden as soon as possible after the festivities. Water regularly until established.

Cut off old leaves of Hellebores which produce flowers from ground level (such as Helleborus niger), as this will expose the flowers and remove foliage diseases such as Hellebore leaf spot.

If you are planning on moving any plants in your garden it's best to do it now when they're still dormant (provided the ground is not frozen or waterlogged), before they put on lots of spring growth. If you haven’t got time to plant trees and shrubs properly yet, or if the weather is bad, unpack new shrubs and dig a trench in a spare part of the garden. Lay the plants in the trench and cover the roots with soil until you have time to do the job properly. Old carpet
or underlay can be cut and laid around the base of young trees and shrubs to control weeds and reduce moisture loss.

On frost free days take the opportunity to prune deciduous trees and shrubs to create the desired shape and framework for the coming seasons.

If we do have any heavy snowfall in the next couple of months, use a broom to gently brush snow off prized conifers, topiary and evergreen shrubs, which can snap and break under its weight.

If weather allows, now is great time to plant new roses.



Edible crops
Sow broad beans, hardy peas and summer radishes in a sheltered spot in well-drained soil, or start the seeds off indoors for planting out in March. Make small, successive sowings to ensure a plentiful crop throughout the growing season.

Seed potatoes are set to arrive in store this month – Chit early potatoes in a light, frost free shed or garage.

Harvest brussels sprouts, red and green cabbages, kale, chicory, leeks, forced rhubarb, chard, spinach and soft herbs such as parsley and chervil.

Sow sweet peas (if not done at the end of last year) and make sure you buy your dahlia, gladiolus and other summer-flowering bulbs and corms while we have a full range in stock (these will need to be planted out after the last frosts).

Seasonal produce
Other produce in season this month: pears, walnuts, long-storing apples, beetroot, carrots, turnips, parsnips, swede, duck, rabbit and maincrop potatoes. Don’t forget the Keep it Local Food & Produce Market runs at Coolings on every fourth Saturday of the month from 9am – 1pm. You will find stalls selling fresh, seasonal, locally sourced or made foods. Tip top fresh meat, fish, bread and cakes, fruit and vegetables grown for flavour rather than volume, juicy jams and chutneys and varieties of locally brewed beers. We look forward to their first visit of the year on 26th January 2019.



Winter is the time of year when we really seek comfort in our food to warm us up and provide us with much needed nutrition and seasonal ingredients. This tasty side dish, courtesy of Arthurs Head Chef, Thomas Williams, will compliment all your favourite winter dishes and will use up all the festive leftovers too!

Perfect Winter Sunday Sprouts
Serves 2-4
250g fresh Brussels sprouts
50g salted butter
100g finely chopped pancetta
Large handful of chervil/flat leaf parsley
20g broken hazelnuts
10g broken walnuts
Pinch of table salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Start by preparing the Brussels sprouts. Being very careful, using a small paring knife cut the end off the sprout removing the bit that was connected to the plant, and then cut a cross into that end about a quarter of the way through. this will enable the heart (middle) of the sprout to cook through properly. once our sprouts have been prepped place them in a container of cold water and set aside. now place the hazelnuts and walnuts into a 'dry' frying pan with no oil or butter and gently toast them over a medium heat moving them constantly, until they start to go a lovely golden-brown colour, remove from the heat and allow to cool. Place a medium heavy based saucepan on the heat half filled with water and a pinch of table salt (enough to be able to submerge all your sprouts in) and bring to a rolling boil, once water is up to temperature carefully place your sprouts in the water and cover with a saucepan lid, leave to cook for 5 minutes (this may take a little more time depending on how large the sprouts are) once the five minutes is up remove the pan from the heat but leave the sprouts inside with the water. Heat the butter in a frying pan and add the chopped pancetta and cook till nice and hot and it has a lovely glazed appearance to the meat, add our toasted nuts (which we have broken up slightly) and then carefully drain off the Brussels and get these into the frying pan also, mix all this together till combined and finish off with a large handful of finely shredded chervil/flat leaf parsley and a good few grinds of black pepper straight from your pepper mill.

Carefully decant this wonderful accompaniment into an appropriate bowl and serve with your favourite winter dish!

Dig over vacant veggie plots and leave rough for the frost to break down.

Tidy up the greenhouse, getting rid of any broken pots, old compost or debris that could hide unwanted visitors.

Keep bird tables and nut feeders full and ensure a regular supply of clean water.

Ponds may become ice-bound but don’t be overzealous – smashing the ice to allow the fish to breathe may send shock waves that kill them. Instead, pour on hot water, or stand a hot saucepan on the ice until it melts a porthole air gap. Fish survive the chilly periods by staying at the bottom of the pond – don’t even think of feeding them just now as their metabolisms have slowed and you’ll be doing them no favours.

Mole activity often increases in January and February as the moles begin to mate and nest. Remove the largest hills from your lawn and re-firm the area before reseeding in the spring. It’s a good time to recut the lawn edges. They tend to lose their definition over time as the grass spreads beyond its confines and the weeds take over. Also, have the mower serviced in good time for the grass-cutting season and check out other garden tools and equipment for damage, rust and loose bolts.

If after heavy rain, water sits in puddles on the lawn, spike with a garden fork to aid drainage.

If you have plants in the greenhouse, make sure your heaters are working and that the insulation is good. In snowy weather, clear the greenhouse roof after a weighty snowfall. If your green house is still empty and the weather is mild, this is a good time to give it (and all your pots and trays) a good scrub. Throw open the door and set to work. Remove moss from between panes of glass and clean the panes both inside and out. Also make any repairs and replace that cracked glass that let in rain all last season!

Pot up Amaryllis bulbs received as Christmas gifts. Bring into active growth with regular watering ready to put on a fabulous display of flower in Winter.

Coolings Early Bird Sale
Runs from Monday 14th January every day, until the end of February. Fantastic plant and shop offers to start the year with a bang.

Seed Potatoes
Nothing tastes better than home grown vegetables straight from the garden. With the average Britain consuming over 100kg of potatoes per year, make your garden your first choice rather than the supermarket! Potatoes are one of the easiest crops you can grow, and early spring is the time to get them in the ground. In January we begin to stock a wide range of seed potatoes - we generally have a selection of over 18 varieties, you are sure to find one to suit your tastes. Available in store now.

If you’re short on space you can grow potatoes in bags…
If you’re not lucky enough to have space to grow your potatoes in the ground, why not try growing them in potato bags? It’s the perfect method for growing spuds in small gardens, patios or even on balconies! Potatoes growing in containers are also at much less risk of pests and diseases.

Summer Flowering Bulbs
Summer flowering bulbs are planted during spring and depending on the variety, begin to flower a few months later into bold, colourful and flamboyant flowers. Add bright and exotic looking blooms to your garden at that time of year where you can sit outside and really appreciate their beauty. In store from late January 2019.


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