Winter gardeningThere really isn’t a lot to do in the garden in January for a tomato garden. You can select some tomato seed and if you have a heated greenhouse you can start to sow your tomatoes during January. But for most people it will be better to wait until early March when the weather warms. Ideally, if you haven’t got a heated greenhouse, you should be looking to have your plants available and ready for planting out around early April once the risk of frost has subsided. You would normally expect the tomato plants to be ready from seed after about 4 – 6 weeks, this is type dependent but usually you can get a better idea from the packet.

Meanwhile you could just spend some time researching and reading up on the different tomato plant varieties and selecting the ones best suited to your needs, irrespective of whether you have decided to grow from seed or purchase the plants ready to go.

There are always some general maintenance jobs you can do in preparation for the growing season. Greenhouses in particular generally need a bit of sorting out.

Wash down the glass to get rid of any accumulated grime, clear out the gutters and replace any damaged panes of glass if required. This is also a good time to sort out your water butts if you have them, just empty them out and give them a good clean inside, use a dilute solution of disinfectant and if you are feeling industrious its always a good idea to give the inside of your greenhouse a wipe down with disinfectant as well to ensure you get rid of any contaminants.

If you are going to be planting outside and have some clear areas, these can be dug over in preparation and a good mix of compost and well rotted manure can be dug in to put some richness back into the soil. A good tip is to cover the ground with plastic sheeting if you find that the soil is too wet to dig, once protected from the rain it will soon dry out enough for rough digging.

Gardening isn’t all about tomatoes and at this time of year there are other gardening jobs in January that need to be done, a bit of pruning or general maintenance of your gardening equipment. Just take some time to have a look around and you will find plenty of little jobs to keep you occupied.

That said there will be some days when it is better just to put a log on the fire, sit with your feet up and watch a bit of TV. Then before long the weather will warm the sun will shine and you will be off on another year of cultivating your own crops.