Gardening jobs for March

Make the most of longer days to prepare your garden for the coming season.

TREES, SHRUBS AND FLOWERS

  • Lift and divide summer flowering perennials. This helps to promote vigorous growth and makes new plants for free!
  • Now is a good time to move evergreen shrubs.
  • Remove the dead flower heads from Daffodils but leave the stem and Leaves to die back naturally.
  • Start hoeing bare soil regularly to keep annual weeds in check.
  • Assess your lawn and even out bumps and dips.

FRUIT, VEGETABLES AND HERBS.

  • Plant one year old dormant asparagus this month. Prepare the ground with well rotted manure.
  • Harvest spring cabbages and cut a deep cross into the remaining stem to get a second crop of tiny cabbages or spring greens.
  • Prune figs to promote growth.
  • Prepare for sowing. Cover seedbeds with cloches or horticultural fleece to warm the soil during the day and to slow down heat loss at night.
  • Divide perennial herbs. Help to maintain the vigour of herbs such as chives, mint and lovage by dividing clumps every few years.
  • Finish pruning fruit trees and bushes before leaf or flower buds burst open.
  • Plant up potted up strawberry plants into well rotted organic matter.

GREENER GARDENING

  • Remove excess winter debris from your pond. Algal growth can be controlled by adding a bale of barley straw or a mesh bag with the straw in it allowing approximately 50g per square metre.
  • Direct sow hardy annuals such as cornflowers and marigolds in spare sunny areas of soil.
  • Check for pests such as aphids and caterpillars which can be a problem as the weather gets warmer. Check plants regularly and remove any pests by hand.
  • Plant Comfrey and use the leaves to make liquid fertiliser and it is also a useful groudcover plant as it spreads quickly.
  • Mulch bare soil.
  • Consider leaving a small area of your garden as a wildlife area, even a small patch tucked away somewhere will be beneficial.
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Gardening jobs for February

There is plenty to do to prepare your garden for the warmer months just around the corner.

TREES, SHRUBS AND FLOWERS

  • There is still time to plant lily bulbs for borders and pots.
  • Start dahlia tubers into growth. Plant tubers in a shallow tray of potting compost in a light , warm place. When shoots reach about an inch longdivide the tubers, pot them up and grow on in frost free conditions until planting out in early June.
  • Start feeding roses with a general purpose or rose fertiliser.
  • Prune Wisteria by cutting back side shoots and shortening the summer pruned shoots further to two or three buds.
  • Tidy herbaceous perennials, old stems can be completely removed.
  • Deadhead winter bedding.
  • Seed sowing , sweet peas can be started off on a windowsill

FRUIT, VEGETABLES AND HERBS.

  • Prune autumn fruiting raspberries, canes can be cut right down to the ground.
  • Apply a general purpose fertiliser to trees, bushes and canes.
  • Plant bare root cane fruit.
  • Sow tomato and cucumber seeds for cultivation under glass in a bright warm place
  • Chit seed potatoes of early cultivars.
  • Prune citrus trees, thin out overcrowded branches and prune back straggly branches by two thirds.
  • Protect flowers of peaches, nectarines and apricots with horticultural fleece.

GREENER GARDENING

  • Deciduous hedges should be pruned this month ahead of bird breeding season.
  • Chose UK online suppliers of seeds and plants to prevent the spread of pests and diseases.
  • Now is a good time to install a compost bin in a shady spot on bare earth to assist drainage and access to beneficial soil organisms.

 

 

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Gardening Jobs for January

Even on the coldest days there are things that you can be doing to ensure that you get the best out of your garden in the months ahead.

TREES , SHRUBS AND FLOWERS

  • Cut back vigorous climbers such as Virginia creeper to keep them within their allotted space on your wall.
  • Remove some of the older leaves from early flowering Iris to see the flowers better.
  • Ventilate greenhouses on mild sunny days to help reduce fungal infections.
  • Use a non toxic disinfectant such as Citrox, or hot soapy water to clean seed trays ready for Spring.
  • If it snows then gently brush the snow off hedges and branches of trees and shrubs to prevent damage.
  • Cut back the leaves of Helleborus x hybridus before the end of this month to reveal flowers and to help to control hellebore leaf spot disease.

FRUIT , VEGETABLES AND HERBS

  • Prune grapevines if you have not already done so this month.
  • cover rhubarb crowns with straw and a traditional clay forcing pot or upturned bucket.
  • Plan where you are going to grow specific plants bearing in mind that crop rotation helps to prevent the build up of crop specific pests.
  • Evergreen herbs such as Rosemary and Sage, and winter salads such as rocket can be harvested through the winter.
  • Seed potatoes and onion sets will be available this month.
  • As food becomes scarce birds are attracted to developing flower buds, cover smaller trees and bushes with netting.

GREENER GARDENING

  • Start saving containers for seed sowing, such as yoghurt pots, margarine tubs and fruit punnets. Wash well and add drainage holes.
  • Continue to feed the birds as food is scarce this time of year. Keep bird feeders topped up as they can waste valuable energy going to an empty feed station where they are used to finding food.
  • Take care with grit and salt as it can damage plants.
  • if fencing has been wind damaged,consider replacing it with a hedge which will reduce air and noise pollution whilst providing a habitat for wildlife.

 

 

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Gardening Jobs for December

From ordering seeds to planting trees there is still plenty to do during the festive season

 

  • Deciduous trees and shrubs can be planted/transplanted now as long as the ground is not waterlogged or frozen.
  • When pruning deciduous trees, shrubs and hedges look out for diseased growth and cut it out.
  • Protect the trunks of young trees and shrubs by using chicken wire or tree guards.
  • Clean ,sharpen and oil secateurs.
  • Prune climbing roses between now and February.
  • Prune established blackcurrants, remove up to a third of older branches at the base.
  • Continue harvesting leeks, sprouts, winter cabbage and parsnips.
  • Choose your seeds for next year.
  • Mound up soil around tall Brussel sprouts or stake them.
  • Consider building a raised bed.
  • Order and plant bare root fruit trees and bushes.
  • Check frozen ponds. Prevent a pond from completely freezing over by the use of a pond heater, running waterfall or fountain or floating a ball at the edge.
  • Let hedgehogs through! To help stop the decline in hedgehog numbers cut a 13cm square gap in the base of fences to enable them to roam more freely.
  • Clean birdfeeders at least once a month to help prevent the spread of disease.
  • Choose the location of your birdfeeder carefully as they like to be able to scout the feeder before fying in so place near trees or shrubs but out of the reach of cats!
  • Leave seed heads on herbaceous perennial so that invertebrates can shelter in there over winter.
  • Provide a grain mix for birds aswell as high-fat feeds.
  • Don’t forget to leave out a shallow bowl of water at ground level, invaluable for all sorts of creatures.
  • Fill birdfeeders every day or even twice a day so that birds do not waste energy looking for food that isn’t there.
  • Don’t use cooked fat from roasts etc in fat balls, these can damage the insulating property of feathers, use suet.
  • Don’t leave fat balls in their nylon mesh as small birds may get their feet trapped.
  • Make a log pile which makes an ideal home for invertebrates over winter
  • Toads, reptiles and small mammals often seek out the warmth of a compost hep so take care when turning it, or leave the job until Spring.
  • Always build a bonfire on the same day that you plan to burn it to prevent the risk of harming hedgehogs or other creatures who may take up residence when it is left to sit for a while.

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Gardening jobs for November

As the weather cools and plant growth slows there is still plenty of propagating, tidying and harvesting to do this month.

  • Continue to mow lawns with the blades set on a high setting of about 4cm.
  • After flowering cut back the growth of Penstemons by about one third and then further in late spring.
  • Apply a dry mulch such as straw or wood chip to borderline hardy plants such as Dahlias.
  • Check for pansy problems such as downy mildew and leaf spot.  Destroy infected plants.
  • Now is the time to take hardwood cuttings of deciduous trees, shrubs and climbers. Cut sections 15 to 30 cm long from healthy shoots of this years growth and insert into pots of cutting compost.
  • Harvest leeks by gently lifting with a fork, harvest every second or third leek so the rest can keep on growing.
  • When the foliage of Jerusalem Artichokes starts to yellow cut it down to about 8cm, harvest tubers now into winter.
  • Find a spot to make a wildlife stack out of logs, branches and prunings.
  • Pond care, barley straw bales put in ponds to reduce algae in the summer can be removed. Leave them by the pond for a day to allow any invertebrates to escape.
  • Growth rate slows in cooler months so plants do not need additional feed, excess nutrients may be washed out by the rain and cause a problem by seeping into the watercourse.
  • Wormeries should be protected in winter. Move them into a shed, greenhouse or garage.
  • Autumn fungi. Fruiting bodies often appear this month.Pathogenic fungi such as honey fungus and some bracket fungi are a concern , however most fungi feed on dead organic matter so are not only harmless but often beneficial.

 

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