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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What do you want to do ?

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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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Gardening Jobs for October

This month is an ideal time for planting and moving trees and shrubs

  • Remove saucers from under pots and put them on raised feet.
  • Lift and divide summer flowering perennials.
  • Check on greenhouse temperatures, a minimum of 7 degrees is needed for overwintering tender winter bedding.
  • Check tree ties and takes to check they have not become too tight.
  • Rake fallen leaves off the lawn.
  • Remove any larger figs that are unlikely to ripen now leaving only those that are pea sized, with frost protection these may overwinter to ripen next summer.
  • Harvest maincrop potatoes.
  • Continue to harvest apples, pears and grapes.
  • If you grow blackberries or hybrid berries such as Tayberries, Boysenberries and Loganberries prune them now. Prune off fruited canes at ground level and tie in new canes.
  • In mild areas you cn sow broad beans at the end of October. Hardier cultivars can overwinter to produce an early crop next year.
  • Plant out spring cabbages when they have five or six true leaves. Plant with the lowest leaves at ground level and water well.
  • Mound up soil around the base of brussel sprouts to provide support and prevent root disturbance in windy weather.
  • Encourage birds into the garden by putting up a range of feeders, a bird bath for bathing and drinking and put up neting boxes.
  • Collect deciduous leaves to make leafmould that can be used as a mulch, soil conditioner or potting compost ingredient. Place damp leaves in old compost bags or bin bags, seal and pierce holes in them, then leave for 12 to 18 months to break down.
  • Plant nectar rich spring bulbs such as snowdrop, aconites and crocus to provide food for pollinators.
  • Regularly remove leaves from ponds
  • Turn your compost heap to aid decomposition. Doing this early in the month will avoid disturbing torpid reptiles or hibernating hedgehogs.
  • Dispose of infected rose leaves, do not compost them.
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Gardening Jobs for September

  • Plant new perennials towards the end of the month.
  • Begin autumn lawn care by scarifying, spiking and top dressing. Reseed bare patches
  • Plant Spring flowering bulbs such as Narcissus,Crocus,Scillas and Hyacinths.
  • Take semi ripe cuttings of tender plants and grow on a sunny windowsill.
  • Water greenhouse lants in the morning not in the evening.
  • Continue to deadhead , feed and water Containers and hanging baskets.
  • Buy and sow leafy winter greens such as mizuna, pak choi,mustard leaf and lamb’s lettuce.
  • Continue to protect plants from cabbage caterpillar with a covering of fine mesh held away from the foliage.
  • Dry herbs such as Bay, oregano and thyme for use during autumn and winter.
  • Install water butts to collect rainwater. This is particularly good for ericaceous plants such as Camellias and Rhododendrons.
  • It is a good time to carry out ay pond care now.
  • Make bug hotels from a pile of logs, twigs or hollow plant stems.
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Gardening Jobs for August

– Take photos and notes of your borders for future planning.

– Continue deadheading plants such as roses, annuals and dahlias

–  Summer prune Wisteria by cutting back the whippy green shoots to 5 or 6 leaves which will encourage flower buds to form.

– Keep Camellias and Rhododendrons well watered, particularly those in pots, as they need moisture now to produce flower buds for next year.

– Keep up your watering regime, especially for pots and hanging baskets.

– Check sweetcorn for ripeness. When the tassels have turned brown peel back an area of the leaves and pierce a corn kernel, if a watery  liquid squirts out it is unripe, if it is creamy it is ready for picking.

– Remove the tips of runner bean shoots once the plants reach the top of their support. Pick regularly should allow the plant to crop for 8 weeks or more.

-Check fruit, particularly apples, pears and plums, for signs of brown rot. Remove and dispose of any damaged fruit.

-Summer fruiting raspberries can now be cut back right down to ground level. Select six to eight strong young canes and tie them in 8 – 10 cm apart along the wire supports for fruiting next summer.

– Now is the time to prune apple trees trained as espaliers or cordons.

-It is a good time to buy yellow rattle seed to establish a wildflower meadow. This suppresses the growth of grass and should be sown in late summer or autumn.

-Turn compost heaps to add air. The contents should be slightly moist. If it is not covered by a lid, place a layer of cardboard on top to retain heat and moisture.

-Sow green manure to cover the soil that may otherwise remain bare. This month is a good time to sow clover, trefoil, buckwheat, Phacelia, grazing rye and winter tares.