Prepare for Spring


Happy new year everyone.

I hope you're enjoying all the gardening goodies you were given at Christmas as, once people know that you're interested in horticulture, it's guaranteed that future presents will include items connected to the garden.

It might be difficult to get motivated when you're still fighting your way through sweets and the extras you bought or baked just in case a bus stopped outside your house over the New Year. As we know time waits for no one and there is plenty to be getting on with. The R H S has a top ten of things to do in January:-

1. Recycle your old xmas tree by shredding it to use as mulch

2. Clean pots and greenhouse ready for spring.

3. Dig over any vacant plots.

4. Disperse worm casts on lawn.

5. Inspect stored dahlia and begonia tubers for drying out and rot.

6. prune apple and pear trees.

7. Start forcing rhubarb, covering with a large upturned pot.

8. Plan your vegetable crop rotation for the coming season.

9. Keep putting out food and water for the birds.

10. If you have a peach or nectarine plant now is is the time to cover it with polythene to protect against peach leaf curl.

Broad beans can be sown now in pots and put in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse.

Sow lettuce, brassicas, spinach and salad onions indoors for extra early crops. Onion seed can be planted if you have a heated propagator.

Trees and shrubs can still be moved now as long as the ground is not frozen. Bare root plants can still be put in now. With the weather so changeable please make sure that any stakes and ties are as they should be. Wind rock can ruin shrubs and trees. If we have snow we must not let it build up on shrubs if we can help it as branches can break which will invariably spoil the shape of the plant. Wisteria can be trimmed now, cut back to 2 or 3 buds but avoid cutting any flower buds. January is the last chance to sow seeds of native trees and shrubs that need frost to germinate.

Summer bulbs and seed potatoes will be available to purchase from the middle of the month, just be careful and keep them safe from frosts. Cut some of the old leaves off hellebores to expose the flowers.

Having watched Blue Planet 2 and seen the devastation caused by plastic on marine life, I will be making it my duty to always have a bag on me when I visit a garden centre as we do when supermarket shopping. It’s just a pity that all pots and trays are plastic. It comes down to economics and unless governments pass legislation this will continue, but anything we can do will help.

Have a happy New Year. Happy gardening.