Gardening in January: jobs to tackle this month

Welcome to your one-stop resource for gardening in January. If you always feel like you don’t have enough time for gardening, or just need some guidance on what to focus on each month, this is the series for you!

You can check out my garden jobs for every other month in this post.

ice on tree branches

Gardening in January

The start of a new year always puts me into planning mode, and the garden is no exception. There’s something so uplifting about looking forward to warmer days and plentiful flowers, isn’t there?

However, there’s still plenty to be getting on with in the garden this month. It may be quieter out there, but that makes it the perfect time to catch up on all those jobs we never get round to in the busy months.

Here are some ideal garden jobs to tackle in January that will get your gardening off to a good start this year.

winter container plants

Plant winter bedding

It’s not too late to use winter bedding plants to give your garden an instant lift. Garden centres, DIY stores and supermarkets usually have a good range on offer.

Pansies, violas, cyclamen, ivy and heather are all great options for creating a colourful winter display. Consider also using evergreen grasses to bulk up containers and provide foliage, texture and height.

packets of seed for planting

Sort out your seeds

If you haven’t already done it, now is a great time to get your seed packets organised.

Check the sow-by dates on each packet. The general rule is to throw away anything that is out of date, as the seeds will be less likely to germinate. Having said that, if you’re willing to take the risk you can plant them and see if they grow.

Sort your seeds according to the month you should plant them; this will save you lots of time in spring when things get busy in the garden. A *seed storage tin with compartments can be very handy here.

Finally, make a shopping list of seeds you need to buy, so you’re ready to go when the weather warms up.

gardening in january - cleaning tools

Garden tool maintenance

The quieter months in the garden are a good time to give your garden tools some attention. Remove any soil, oil hinges and springs, and sharpen blades. My post on garden tool maintenance covers this in more detail.

Don’t forget your *watering can when you’re tackling your tools. Chances are it will have accumulated debris, and possibly algae or fungus. Give the inside a good scrub with water and a scrubbing brush, and use a bottlebrush on the spout. If you can remove the rose, take it off and give it a good wash too.

gardening in january - organising plant pots

Organise your plant pots

Another organising job for a quiet month is sorting out your plant pots. Any with cracks or splits should be recycled; check if your local garden centre offers this service.

Once you’ve sorted your pots, stack them in size order to save space in the shed and make them easier to access.

You can also prepare any plastic plant labels for the growing season by washing them, and using cream cleaner to remove any writing. Make sure you rinse them thoroughly once you’ve finished scrubbing.

garden path

Tidy up garden paths

Paths can quickly become invaded by weeds or grass, so take some time this month to deal with them. Trim any grass edges, and remove weeds by hand or using a *gas burner. If your paths are bordered with bark chips, check whether this needs topping up too.

male blackbird in tree feeding on homemade bird feeders

Winter wildlife support

Continue to help your local wildlife survive the winter this month. Provide *bird seed (or make your own bird feeders) and a *bird bath, and top them up regularly. You can also leave an area of the garden intact, rather than cutting down dead plants. This will provide seedheads for birds to feed on, and fallen stems for small mammals, frogs, toads and insects to shelter in.

Consider also adding some *nesting boxes to your garden, ready for spring.

to do list

Plan this year’s garden

Even if the weather is awful, you can still get a gardening fix indoors by doing some planning.

Think about areas of the garden you’d like to improve on, plants that worked well (or not so well) last year, and any major projects you have in mind. This will help you to plan your time over the next few months, and also give you focus when you’re getting carried away with the plant shopping!


Now is a good time to prune apple and pear trees. Aim to remove dead, diseased or damaged branches, and also remove any branches that are rubbing against each other.

Blackcurrant plants can also be pruned this month, if you haven’t done it already. Remove roughly one quarter of the old stems.

You can tidy up rose bushes this month too. Remove any dead, damaged or crossing stems, and cut branches back to just above a bud.

pink geranium plants

What to plant in January

Gardening in January may be a more leisurely affair than other months of the year, but if you’re itching to get planting there are some plants you can start off this month.

For a full list of flowers, fruit and vegetables you can grow this month, head over to my post on what to plant in January.

Are you busy in the garden this month, or making the most of the slower pace? Let me know what’s on your to do list 🙂

Pin for later

Not sure what to tackle in the garden this month? These quick & easy gardening jobs for January will help you keep the garden looking good.