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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.