On this page we hope to keep you up to date with what to do in the garden throughout the year.
All unused ground should be tidied up and a dressing of manure or leaf mould applied. When the weather is bad start writing or telephoning for seed and nursery catalogues, otherwise enjoy the rest and admire the winter colours from an armchair in the house. Get the garden videos out and start thinking about what improvements can be made; there is always something that can be done. Bulbs will be pushing through the surface in readiness for flowering.
The same applies here, a top dressing of manure should be dug in. Indeed get digging in those areas that have been put out of mind, because you did not want to do it; it keeps you warm and makes the thought of a rest and a warm drink more appealing. Bulbs may need protection from mice, snails and the cheeky sparrows. The word manure keeps coming up, those roses will need their share, but if you can find any cow dung use it. The days of rushing out into the street when the tradesman's cart drawn by a horse have long gone so you will have to find a friendly farmer. If you plant any roses this month you will need to prune them after about four weeks. Have a look at where you want climbers to go and start to train and trim them. Those with rock gardens will need to dress them with gritty loam to make the plants feel at home and do not forget to firm the plants in for they will have been lifted by the frost. Divide plants that you want to see more of in others parts of the rock garden, but start to think about colour coordination. Lots to do isn't there?
SEEDS TO SOW
Snapdragons, or more properly known as Antirrhinums, begonias, lobellias, petunias and verbenas should be sown and given gentle heat.
Anemones and Ranunculuses can be planted out when the weather invites such activity. Autumn sown annuals can also be transplanted. Take the opportunity to plant edgings such as Box Hedging, pinks or Thrift.
Keep the night temperature at between 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, making sure that air is passed through the greenhouse at least once a day, preferable at lunch time. Water caringly. Azaleas and Heaths will need their leaves washed thereby moistening the soil beneath. Bedding plants should be sown now. Think about starting Dahlias in gentle heat. If you can supply bottom heat to your Fuchsias after repotting them this will be beneficial. Geranium or Pelargonium roots should be given gentle bottom heat and then cuttings taken.
SEEDS TO SOW
Balsam, Begonias, Canna, Celosia, Cobaea, Cyclamen, Fuchsia, Thunbergia together with bedding plants such as Golden Feather, Lobelia, Petunia and Pyrethrum should be dispensed from the packet to the soil.
Try cuttings of Tree Carnations and Geraniums.
Now is the time to move plants to larger pots as they show signs of outliving their old ones. Pot Achimenes tubers and any Calceolarias you sowed last August. Cannas should be divided and started in pots. Border Carnations, Ferns, Fuchsias and Hydrangeas should be repotted. Those lucky enough to have Palms should give them a tidy up and make them look smart.
Make sure that the soil is clear of weeds by constantly hoeing when the weather allows you out of doors. Clear old beds such as Brussels sprouts and Cabbages. Decide how you are going to grow your Peas or Beans and if it is to be sticks seek a suitable source of supply. Protect unharvested Broccoli by bending the leaves over the flower. Leeks should be dug up and stored by planting close together in a cool spot. Onions will need the ground to be well trenched or rotovated for the main crop. Peas should be earthed up. Keep an eye on the Potatoes in the boxes and discard any that do not appear to be up to standard.
SEEDS TO SOW
Now is the time to be thinking about supplies for the Autumn and Broad Bean, Brussels Sprouts should be sown. Cabbages, carrots Cauliflowers, Lettuces, Onions, Leeks, Parsnips, Peas, Radishes, Spinach, Tomatoes and Turnips are what you should be dispensing from the packets.
Time to put Artichokes, Garlic, Shallots, Lettuce (winter), Potatoes (early), Rhubarb and Seakale into the ground.
All plants that have been wintering under cloches, such as Cauliflowers and Lettuces, should be hardened off and only protected when the weather is frosty. Early Lettuces can be pricked out in frames. Onions sown in boxes will require thinning out, but why throw away the thinnings try them in a sheltered spot in the garden. Waste not want not. Start getting hot beds ready for Cucumbers, Marrows and Melons.
Aubergines, Broad Beans, Beans (French), Beetroot, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflowers, Celery, Leeks, Peas (early), Radishes, Tomatoes, Turnips, Marrows, Peppers, and Potatoes for forcing can be planted.
Finish any pruning that has been left, this is the month for Damsons, Pears, Plums and Quince, and spread manure round trees and dig it in. Stocks for grafting should be cut back to form a head. Cuttings (scions) to be used for grafting should be taken from the parent tree and pushed into the earth by a north wall. Make a new bed for strawberries, this will keep your plants up to date. When the new plants are well rooted remove the old weary plants. This way you keep stock healthy.
Finish off all pruning and training of fruit grown indoors. Fertilise all fruit that is not serviced by bees. Try transferring the pollen from the flower with a feather or camel hair brush. Fumigate the greenhouse if greenfly are present.
TREES AND SHRUBS
Not much to do in this area of the garden just keep it tidy. Plenty to do elsewhere.