January is typically a cold and dark month so it’s usually a quiet period for the garden but there are still many things that you can be doing in your garden this time of year, especially if you have a propagator or a cold frame. Ventilation is key for this time of year, but this should be done on a dry and sunny day ideally in the morning and shut again in the afternoon to ensure the heat is trapped overnight. Keeping the grow house dry inside is important as this will minimise the risk of diseases occurring, to do this it is key that when watering you water by hand and not splash water on the floor or staging. It’s also a good opportunity to plan for the year ahead if you haven’t already done so whether that be planning on what it is you want to grow this coming year or ordering the seeds.
To sow tomatoes in January they will need to be in a heated greenhouse or heated propagator, with a temperature of around 10-12 degrees. There are many ways to heat your greenhouse, have a read of our previous blogs to find out how. There are many varieties of tomatoes out there it is essential to choose a variety that will better suited to where you plan on growing them, for example, vine tomatoes are better suited to a large greenhouse than a bush variety, but bush varieties are better for smaller greenhouses and outdoors. Once the variety has been chosen sow the tomato seeds thinly in either seed trays or small pots, and cover the seeds back over with compost. Once the seedlings have reached around 15-20cm high plant them out into pots.
You can start growing radishes in January, you will need the summer varieties such as French Breakfast, Cherry Belle and Large White Icicle. They will need to be under a cloche for protection in a place where they will get enough sunlight but can grow in a variety of different temperatures. Put general-purpose fertiliser in the soil before sowing and rake until a fine texture. Depending on the type of variety you choose depends on how far apart they need to be, smaller varieties need to be spaced 3cm apart and larger/Japanese varieties need to be spaced 5-10cm apart. Harvest when the radishes are young and tender, do not wait or the roots get fibrous.
Peppers and chillies
You can start peppers (Bell Boy and Mira) and chillies (Loco and Spike) as early as January if you have a heated propagator and a growing light; as the average grow house this time of year will be too cold with not enough light to germinate seeds. To achieve the best results the seedlings will need above 15 degrees but will tolerate a minimum of 12 degrees. When sowing make sure the seeds are evenly spaced out and cover them with a thin layer of compost and place it in the propagator. Once seedlings have grown between 2-3 inches they will need to be put into larger pots and place into your heated grow house. They should be ready to be harvested around August-November.
We hope you enjoyed January’s edition of our greenhouse growing tips. If you have any questions or need further advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us.