So UK gardens have just suffered the coldest December/January since the winter of 1981/82 and Scotland was bathed in its lowest temperatures since records began in 1914.
But look on the bright side, the slug, snail, aphid, root fly and wire worm populations should all be a little less this year with any luck, and the melt water slowly percolating deep into the soil will benefit the veg plot no end once the long hot summer arrives.
(slight wishful thinking that last bit)
Don’t be in too much of a rush to plant and sow, seeds forced through with high indoor temperatures, but poor light levels will be weak and spindly. Better to wait a few weeks and have plants that have grown at a steady pace, these will be much stronger and ready to grow away quicker when conditions improve.
Give the greenhouse windows, staging and any pots or trays, a clean down to remove any dirt and old compost that might be harbouring pests or diseases.
check heaters are in good working order.
Maintain any automatic vents on the windows, these will be in use sooner than you think.
Sow seeds of sweet and cayenne pepper, aubergine, tomato and cucumber destined for greenhouse production in a heated propagator/greenhouse.
Seeds of hardy early crop peas and broad beans can be sown, be prepared to give cloche protection if the weather takes a turn for the worst.
Early varieties of potatoes should be chitted, lay them out in trays in a light, cool, frost free place so they can develop short sprouts from each eye.
Carrots can be forced under cloches, varieties such as Amsterdam forcing perform very well this way.
Summer/autumn cropping cabbage can be sown by the middle of the month, either in a cold frame or under a cloche.
If the soil is not frozen or waterlogged plant fruit trees and bushes as they are available. Established fruit areas can be given a dressing of mulch to help conserve moisture in the soil.
Autumn fruiting raspberries can be cut right back to ground level, Summer fruiting raspberries should have only last years fruiting stems removed if not already done.
Rhubarb that has developed large congested crowns can be lifted and divided.
Force Rhubarb by placing a large bucket over the crown, giving early tender stalks for picking.