Continue the pruning of apple and pear trees, cutting back secondary growths since summer, to one bud. Ground for next year’s runner beans can be prepared now and covered with manure or compost.
Spray fruit trees with tar oil wash on a still day to kill any overwintering eggs of insect pests and add grease bands to the trunks.
In the vegetable plot dress area for growing brassicas with lime – most vegetables grow best in soil with a pH of 6.5. Sow broad beans and hardier peas in soil which is not too heavy or too cold and on lighter soils shallots can be planted now.
Turn over the compost heap – good exercise to cure the excesses of Christmas.
Sow tomato seeds at 70F for early plants for indoor culture.
Sow sweet peas either singly in 5” root training tubes, or no more than 6 seeds to a 5” pot. Do not soak the seed and chipping is not necessary. Plant no more than 1/4” or 5mm deep in coarse multipurpose compost. Do not compact but water with a fine rose. Protect against mice and slugs. Once germination has taken place move the seedlings to a cold frame with as much light as possible to avoid them getting drawn and spindly. Also keep dry after the first watering until well established. Nip out the tips once 3 pairs of leaves have formed to encourage stronger side shoots and grow one of these on if you intend to exhibit the flowers.
Bring in strawberry plants for forcing and start chitting potatoes at the end of the month.
Those magnificent poinsettias bought at Christmas need to be in a cool draft free place with plenty of light and they don’t need a lot of water. Indoor azaleas need to be in a cool place but well watered.
Finally, time to order Seeds !