There will be many days when the weather is just too unpleasant to work outdoors however keen you are to progress work in the garden. Fortunately there are many things that can be done in the comfort of your sitting room or kitchen, and even more activities if you have a heated greenhouse to work in.
Go through the seed and summer bulb catalogues and place your orders now. This will mean there will be one less job to do during the busy spring period and early ordering means you are more likely to receive your preferred choice of seeds and bulbs before stocks run out. This is also a good time to order plants and seedlings by post. They probably won’t be delivered until spring; but the closing date for orders is much earlier.
Getting seed trays and pots ready (wash and disinfect old ones or buy new ones), and purchasing the potting and seed compost, all give a much-needed psychological boost, acting as a reminder that the growing season is about to start. Early January may be too soon to sow the majority of your seeds, but at least you can write the labels in anticipation. That, too, will ease the pressure later if you want to sow and transplant a lot of seeds and seedlings.
Don’t start sowing too early, especially if you only have a couple of windowsills to raise the plants on. Seeds sown now may suffer from lack of light as well as space. If you have a warm greenhouse, however, there are a number of seeds, such as fibrous-rooted begonias and pelargoniums, which can be sown, and cuttings, such as chrysanthemums, to be taken.
Now is also the time to think about how your garden can be improved in the year ahead. If you don’t already keep a garden notebook, the beginning of the new year is a good time to start. Use it to write down your ideas and work out detailed plans. You can then take it along on buying trips. A garden notebook or diary is also invaluable for recording details of plants purchased, any special care required and the position you have planted them in the garden.