January is the month for planning for the season ahead to ensure that everything is organised. As with all activities, growing fruit and vegetables in an allotment or garden is a learning activity and recording which seeds germinated, which plants work where, when they harvest, and any pest issues is an invaluable tool for the years to come. Organisations like the Royal Horticultural Society sell five-year record books to allow to record information by the month.

Now is also the time to plan what you want to grow in your polytunnel or greenhouse and if you haven’t already done so, order the seeds to grow in those locations.

If you have managed to grow some crops through the winter be patient and protect the more vulnerable ones to temperature with fleece to stop the frost. Keep picking cut and come again crops even if the leaves are small, remember never to strip a plant completely or take out the growing point and they will survive. Also be patient with vegetables such as sprouting broccoli, low light levels and cold conditions mean that you need to let the broccoli establish before harvesting.

Now is the time to look at your soft fruit bushes and based on variety and activity, decide whether now is the time to prune blackberries and brambles, unwanted suckers and canes can be removed at any time. Raspberries depending on the variety when they fruit, usually need to be left to late winter so now January will be too early to prune but check the specific advice for the variety.

Blackcurrants again should only be pruned when buds begin to burst so again depending on weather, January may be too early to prune. Redcurrants and other varieties should be left until almost spring. Gooseberries are the same unless the winter is very mild.

For Apple trees January might be OK to prune but this is also dependent on the weather you want to ideally prune just after the harshest of the weather which is sometimes not easy to predict.