Fruit Care in Winter
If you grow any fruits in your garden, there is plenty you can do this month to help prepare them for the year ahead. From pruning and encouraging growth to cutting back damaged and diseased growth. Let's have a look at what you can be doing in the garden this month.
This delicious, fleshy plant is a popular addition to fruit crumbles, late summer puddings and even as an infusion for gins. If you have Rhubarb growing in your garden, now is a great time to use a Rhubarb forcer to encourage new growth. Forcing Rhubarb will exclude all light to the leaves, and make the stems taste sweeter and the harvest earlier. Once under the cover of the Rhubarb forcer, you will be looking to harvest the stems within 8-10 weeks, when the stalks have reached about 30cm in length.
Apple & Pear Trees
Now is the time to look at pruning your Apple and Pear trees. As the trees are still dormant through this month and next, it is safe to prune. If you're unsure how much to prune and where to start, stand back and assess the tree. Can you see any dead growth? Any damaged branches or diseased areas? Cut this back, making sure that your tools are cleaned if removing diseased growth, so as not to spread it to healthy parts of the tree.
If you grow autumn fruiting Raspberries, January is a good time to cut the canes can be cut back. Trim the canes right back to just above the surface of the ground. Make sure you apply plenty of mulch around the base of the Raspberries to protect them against the freezing winter weather.
With plenty of varieties to choose from, and bright colourful edible fruit, Chillis are a popular choice. You can sow chilli seeds for growing on a warm windowsill or heated greenhouse. They take a a little while to germinate, but are worth the wait. Keep them well watered and in a warm position.