Fruit & Vegetables
Start sowing under glass, vegetable seeds like celeriac, leeks and onions to name a few. Do not be tempted to sow too many at one time because they may become leggy due to the low light levels. Sow small amounts at a time, this I have found to work well for me.
Cover over any area of soil which you have prepared for planting or sowing with some polythene this will help to keep the soil dry and start the warming up process.
Cut down autumn fruiting raspberry canes to ground level, give them a top dressing around the outside of the canes with a well-rotted horse manure or garden compost, this will give them a good start to the season. You will start to see signs of the new canes growing, make sure you do not get any manure onto this new growth as this will burn them.
Give your fruit trees a good mulch with well-rotted horse manure or garden compost. When you place this around the trees do not mound it up around their trunks.
Now is a good time if you have got any rhubarbs in your plot, try forcing them by using a large pot or bucket turned upside down. You will end up with some light pink stems which are tender and sweet and ready to use in about 8 to 10 weeks.
If you did start forcing your rhubarb under pots to get an early crop keep checking them and harvest as they become ready.
Continue to chit your potato tubers in egg boxes or in a seed trays.
If like me you have got an apricot protect the blossom from the weather I use horticultural fleece for this, give the same treatment to nectarines and peaches.
Apply a mulch of well-rotted horse manure or garden compost onto crops like artichokes and asparagus.
Lightly fork and add a top dressing of garden compost ready for the coming season, this will give all the plants a good start.
Continue to plant out new plants within the garden, whilst there is still time move any more established shrubs and trees which may have out grown the positions they are in.
You can still take hardwood cuttings from plants like Weigela, Salix and Cornus just to name a few.
Plant out container grow plants as long as the ground conditions are ok and not waterlogged or frozen.
Continue to deadhead winter pansies and other winter bedding as they require it. If you continue to maintain these plants regularly they will carry on flowering well into late spring.
Prune any winter flowering shrubs that have finished flowering and carry out the pruning of Wisteria and evergreen hedges.
Start to plant up any dahlia tubers which you may have stored from last season, place them in a warm place with plenty of light.
Now is a good time to plant any lily bulbs in pots ready to flower in the summer, give them some protection of a cool greenhouse or cold frame.
Start sowing hardy annuals in module trays or pots these will provide some great colour during the season.
If you did manage to sow your sweet peas early in the autumn now is a good time to pot them on, if not don’t worry now is a good time to sow them.
Check around all of your plants and trees which have stakes, check these are ok, re-stake and tie if required to reduce the risk of restriction or damage to the stems and trunks.
Start cleaning pots and trays ready for the coming growing season.
If you have not already done so get your lawn mower in for its annual service before the grass requires the first cut of the spring.
Keep a regular check on the bird table making sure there is fresh seed and water and that it is not frozen.
Check over any of your stored fruit and vegetables and remove any that are showing signs of rot and put them on to the compost heap.