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Rooko's January Top 10 Tryouts & Tips

1. Are you a pet owner? Dogs Cats Rabbits etc. When you have groomed them save up the hair/fur. This can be deposited around your garden/allotment so that birds can use it for lining their nests. If the birds don't use it up, it may well discourage slugs from the area.

2. Slugs and Snails will be loving the wet weather we have experienced in UK this year and know doubt their populations will have drastically increased. One good method of killing them off is to spread oatmeal around on slug infested areas. Cheap and effective this method it be! (thanks Yoda).

3. Some allotment holders say they have little work to do on the allotment during the Winter months. If your soil is dry enough digging and/or rotavating it and adding compost or manure, will add nutrients and structure to it. This will give you a head start by the time Spring arrives.

4. Apply some mulch to your garden plants before any permanent frost sets in. The contents of used grow bags can be re-used for this. Lettuce or similar veggies can also be sown in old grow bags in the greenhouse.

5. Make sure your houseplants are not drying out, courtesy of your central heating being on during the Winter.

6. Many shrubs and trees can be planted in January. Try adding some evergreens to your garden, for permanent colour.

7. January is a good month to start chitting your seed potatoes. Lay them out in trays in a dry frost free place. Discard any damaged or diseased specimens.

8. This is an old tip I posted many moons ago but I thought it was worth re-posting. When you discard your (real) Christmas tree this year, saw the trunk into sections just below each set of branches, leaving a few inches of trunk intact above the branches. The branches on most Christmas trees grow around the trunk at the same height. Cut the branches down to a manageable length. Drill a hole through the trunk above the branches. Screw the completed "hooks" in place in your shed for hanging tools etc up on. Or sharpen the trunk piece and use for pegging down netting etc.

Christmas Tree Peg
9. Cleaning out your shed, greenhouse/outbuilding now is a good idea. Get rid of all the unusable clutter, "that has been kept for later" before the sowing/planting season starts.

10. If you intend to carry out any Winter pruning, check the weather forecast first. Heavy frosts can damage recently pruned trees and shrubs easily.


  1. We have part shares in a poodle and when she is clipped we keep her wool. Some was used around pansies and protected them from slugs and we popped some out for the birds. One year when the blue tits nested in our webcam box we saw them using the wool(it's black so easily recognised) as nesting material.

    1. Its always gratifying to be able to re-use waste materials, and help the birds out at the same time too.

  2. The idea of making hooks from your old Christmas tree is sheer genius! What happens to the green branches?

    1. Thanks Mark, I normally cut up the rest of the tree into smaller pieces and compost it. I expect some of the branches could be used for "drill markers" or Pea sticks, although I use Cherry tree wood for Pea sticks.

  3. Great tip for using our Christmas to make hooks!
    Happy New Year :)

    1. Thanks Karen, I hope the tips come in handy now and again.


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