January Tasks


January is a cold, dark and wet month here in Norfolk, UK. It is far from being my favourite month. There is nothing pleasant about being outside this time of the year, especially when the log fire is roaring in the lounge and a Sunday roast is on the go.

It’s the time of the year when I have to dig deep for motivation, and I turn to my source of inspiration – River Cottage. If you have never seen this series, it is a television show which shares an idealistic view of living a Smallholders life in the south of England. I know it does not represent the realities and struggles of running a Smallholding, but it is enough to inspire me to pull on my boots and step out into the cold. If I want an abundant crop later in the year, I need to put the effort in now.


Broad Beans can be sown under cover this time of the year in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse. With my greenhouse out of service, my broad beans will be planted in the main bed but covered with a plastic closh.

Lettuce, spinach and summer brassicas for an early crop can be planted indoors. As much as I would like to do this, I’m not sure my wife would appreciate it, especially with all the building work taking place.

General Care

It’s an excellent time to improve the soil with organic matter. I will be turning over the area I have used for carrots and a bed I usually use for summer onions. I haven’t added any soil improvers to these areas for a while so its about time I did.

While there isn’t much to be done, it’s enough to keep me pottering about in the garden dreaming of the good life and the harvest I will have later in the year.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. tonytomeo says:

    Goodness! It seems that many who enjoy gardening take it slow through winter. For us, it is the busiest time of year. Most of the necessary plating gets done at the end of autumn or through winter. What is more important is that winter is when all the pruning gets done. Winter is not long enough for all of the pruning.

    1. mallr says:

      I’m coming to realise winter is such an important time. I had written it off as a time for working on the garden and growing. I suspect that is why I am so behind each year. I’m planning a complete overhaul of my garden this year and will be keeping winter in mind as I plan.

      1. tonytomeo says:

        Of course, the business of winter is all relative to climate. In some climates, it really is a slow season, when it would be difficult to go outside. An observation that Midwestern farmers make about coastal Californian farms is that they look so shabby. There is very little time off to clean things up and paint the buildings!

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