Plant tulips now for spring displays.
Plant out winter bedding such as wallflowers, pansies and violas.
Raise containers on pot feet to improve drainage.
Prune back Roses by up to half to prevent them from rocking in the winter winds.
Lift Dahlias, Cannas, Begonias and Gladioli. Clean and remove dead foliage before storing in a frost-free shed or garage.
Divide your herbaceous perennials to keep them vigorous, enrich the soil with compost before replanting.
Sow – Aquadulce Claudia or the Sutton Broad Beans either directly in the soil, or in modules to crop next spring. Protect against mice and slugs. Plant overwintering Onions and Garlic.
Harvest – Cabbage, cauliflower, calabrese, kale, leeks, sprouts, celeriac, lettuce, celery, beetroot, carrots, turnips, swede, potatoes, spinach and chard. Start to dig parsnips after the first frosts when the cold helps sweeten the flavour.
Ensure winter brassicas are covered with netting to prevent pigeon damage, and stake them against winter gales.
Prepare new beds for planting asparagus in the spring. Cut back foliage on old beds of asparagus, and shred before composting it. Weed and apply a layer of manure ready for next year. The plants will continue cropping well for up to 8 years.
Place fresh manure in a heap, or spread over the beds now, and cover with plastic or cardboard, so that it can rot down over the winter.
Build some raised beds to take the backache out of gardening.
Check stored vegetables and throw out any rotting ones immediately.
Every 3 or 4 years dig up and split Rhubarb roots. Replant them with plenty of manure as a mulch, they are hungry plants.
Start planting fruit bushes, raspberry and blackberry canes, and fruit trees while they are dormant. Their roots will start growing while the soil is still warm ready for the next season. Ensure fruit trees are staked at the time of planting as rocking in the wind can destroy the root system.
Apple, pear, and quince trees can be pruned between now and the end of February.
Clear up any rotting fruit from the ground and remaining on the tree, they can harbour Brown Rot spores which will infect next years crop.
Stop winter moth damage to fruit trees by applying grease bands. If the grease start to dry out apply a fresh layer.
Remove netting from fruit cages to allow the birds to pick off pests, and to prevent snow from damaging the cage.
Check stored fruit for any sign of rot and remove promptly.
November is the perfect time to start planting deciduous trees and shrubs while the soil is still warm for root growth, but they have no leaves to stress them. Use Rootgrow mycorrhizal fungi to give the roots a boost, water in well, and apply a thick mulch of compost. Remember do not plant if the soil is water logged or frozen.
Bare rooted trees, shrubs, and hedging can be bought and planted once the leaves have dropped.
Greenhouse – Clean out and disinfect the greenhouse ready for next season. Remove or cover any overwintering plants during the process so they don’t get damaged. Remember to clean the inside and outside of the glass, and replace any broken panes. Continue to open the door on sunny days as the greenhouse will soon heat up. Water only in the morning,and do so sparingly, as high humidity in the cold of night encourages plants to rot.
Clean out water butts so that they can be refilled by the winter rains.
Reuse spent compost from bedding and pots as a mulch on flowerbeds.
Sweep up fallen leaves and compost to make leaf-mould. Shredding the leaves will encourage them to break down. Dispose of dead leaves from under fruit trees and roses in the bin as they may harbour diseases.
Lawn – Edge to tidy it up, and spike the grass to improve aeration.
Cut Holly with berries now, ready for Christmas, place in a bucket of water in the shed to prevent birds eating the berries.
Jobs for February 2024
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