Monthly jobs on your allotment

For some monthly advice and tips on what you should be doing on your allotment, please choose the month from the drop down menu.


The start of another successful year of growing - fingers-crossed!

This month can be one of the most frustrating times for gardeners, so keen to be out and starting but often kept indoors by inclement weather. Use this time to start to look over tools and equipment. Any cutting implements should be sharpened, cleaned and oiled, and any spades, forks, hoes etc. should be given a similar treatment. Wooden shafted tools will also benefit from a clean, light sand and thorough rub over with linseed oil to give them many more years’ service. A general tidy through of sheds and stores is always a good idea, and often a good way of finding otherwise ‘lost’ items!

Check over supplies of canes, nets and so on, and repair or replace as necessary. Greenhouses, polytunnels, cold frames and cloches should be checked and cleaned if you have not done so already. Clean glass allows much better light penetration, and the reasons for destroying pests, diseases and fungus are obvious. If heaters or propagators etc. are used, this should also be checked over and all pots and trays should be washed in readiness. Stock up on seed labels and so on.

On a particularly cold or wet day, sit down with a catalogue or two and start to make lists for required seeds, bulbs, tubers and whatever else you intend to grow throughout the year.
All winter digging should be completed by the end of the month.


  • Sow onions and leeks under cover, especially if required for exhibition/showing.
  • If space is available, a few early potatoes can be planted in large pots and kept in a greenhouse or polytunnel. No extra heat is required, but a little heating will certainly speed things up.
  • Feed and mulch asparagus if not done last autumn.
  • If a slightly heated greenhouse is available, dwarf French beans can be sown 4 or 5 to a decent size pot for early crops.
  • Continue to check over stored crops.
  • Continue as per last month to force chicory.
  • If grown, seakale can now be forced, covering crowns with large pots, buckets or proper forcing pots if available, then fresh manure heaped around to provide heat.


  • Continue to dead-head winter bedding.
  • Sow sweet peas if not done so in autumn.


  • Rhubarb can start to be forced now, as for seakale above.
  • Finish all pruning this month at the latest. Ensure all trained fruit such as fans, cordons, espaliers etc are well tied in.
  • If the month is mild, the earliest buds may begin to swell on gooseberries, plums etc. These may require protection from birds.


  • Very much the same as per last month. 
  • Remember to ventilate a little on mild days, though cautiously, and always ensure houses are closed up again in mid-afternoon to trap in any warmth from the winter sun.  

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