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January checklist

Sun ripened tomatoes, new potatoes and home grown salads are the rewards for all your hard work. It can be just too hot to be out in the garden during the day, wait until the evening when it is cooler.

Key points for this month:

  • Protect vegetable crops from white butterfly and insects.
  • Plant swan plants to attract butterflies into the garden.
  • Check watering systems are working or install new ones.
  • Roses will need maintaining: dead-head and spray if insects or mildew is present.
  • Early crops of garlic can be harvested.
  • Harvest crops of tomatoes, beans, salad and herbs as they become ready.
  • Mulch citrus and shrubs.
  • Refresh garden colour with new season summer plants.

Kitchen Garden

Water less often but more thoroughly, the water needs to reach the subsoil to the root zone. Take your time and check that the soil is wet to at least 5cm.

Water in the early morning or early evening to reduce water loss due to evaporation.

Water, feed and weed before you go away, ask a neighbour to water while you are away, put a timer on the tap to make it easy for them. 

Check over your plants regularly, pests love the heat, remove bugs by hand then install sticky traps.

If pests have become a problem use an environmentally friendly spray around your vegetables and remember to spray late in the day when the bees have gone home.

Sow seeds. In most areas seeds can be planted directly in to the garden: cabbage, beans, cauliflower, carrots, spinach, and silverbeet. Keep them well watered and thin when necessary.

Plant seedlings: beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, spinach, radish, leeks and silverbeet.

Plant another round of salad crops: lettuce, mizuna and mesclun.

Continue to feed vegetables with liquid fertiliser every two weeks.

Keep your seedlings protected with slug and snail bait.

Harvest garlic when tops have flowered, turned yellow and the lower leaves have started to turn brown.

Harvest vegetables as soon as they become ready, if you are not sure when this is, taste and size are good indicators. Most vegetables don’t improve when left to grow too big.

Corn is ready to harvest when it is still at the milky stage and the silk will be brown and dry. Check by pulling back the leaves and pushing your fingernail in the cob. Don’t leave them on the plant to long after this as they become doughy.

Harvest potatoes as they become ready, use any damaged ones first and store the rest.

Beans need checking regularly, they become stringy if left to long on the bush.

Tomatoes are ready to harvest when they are fully coloured and firm to the touch. The plants can get very heavy now so make sure they are well staked

Early plums can be harvested, check other fruit trees for overly heavy branches, remove some fruit early if necessary to protect the branch.

Garden Colour

Water your pots more in the warmer weather and consider using a water retention product.

Sow seeds. In most areas seeds can be planted directly in to the garden: cosmos, impatiens, lobelia, calendula, pansies, poppies, salvia. Stay on top of the watering or else they will dry out quickly.

Plant seedlings: petunias, impatiens, calendula, dahlias, verbena, alyssum, cosmos, marigolds, nemesia and dahlias. 

Plant for bees: alyssum, pineapple sage, bergamot, echinops, eryngium, lemon balm, blue salvia, coreopsis, gaillardia, alyssum, rosemary and lavender.

Prepare the ground for spring bulbs by digging compost through the soil.

Dead-head roses. Remove all fallen leaves from around the base of the plant to reduce the spread of disease.

Water roses well, replace or refresh mulch if necessary.

Protect your roses from blackspot with the appropriate fungicide.

Trees and Shrubs

Keep all plants well watered.

Remove weeds as they will harbour pests and diseases.

Continue to mulch your shrubs and trees. Keep mulch away from the trunk.

Watch out for insects, spray in the evening when the bees have gone home.

In humid areas watch for mildew, blackspot and other diseases that thrive in this environment.


The summer heat will slow growth, water if necessary.

Cut the grass dry and remove the catcher on your lawnmower to let the clippings fall on the lawn. They will act as mulch conserving water and prevent scorching.

Water well to keep it green, use an oscillating sprinkler for maximum coverage.