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- Clean pots and greenhouses ready for spring. Thorough cleaning with hot water and a mild detergent will reduce pest and disease problems. Ventilating the greenhouse on mild sunny days will help to reduce fungal infections.
- Ensure all stand pipes and irrigation lines are drained to avoid damage from water freezing in them. If being used throughout the winter put lagging around outdoor taps to prevent freezing.
- Garden contractors are often short of work in winter and therefore available to do major tasks such as paving, fence building and pond digging.
- Consider purchasing water butts now ready for the summer. Rainwater is particularly useful for watering acid-loving, ericaceous plants (tap water is often slightly alkaline)
- Keep putting out food and water for hungry birds. Place Wild bird feeders in different areas in your garden and remember to use a variety of wild bird food mixes to attract the greatest diversity of song birds to your garden area , who will in turn eat pests in your garden. You can add a nesting box to your garden to help the birds find a safe place to nest. Leave some garden areas uncut, a little longer, to provide shelter for wildlife in your garden.
- Plant a touch of spring colour by using Cyclamen, winter-flowering Pansy, Viola, Primula and Polyanthus that will flower intermittently during mild spells during the winter. The following can also be used: Spring flowering Heathers, large-flowered bedding Daisies (Bellis perennis), Wallflowers (Erysimium) and potted spring flowering bulbs.
- Plant bare root roses now in a sunny position for spectacular summer colour
- Plant new Barerooted Hedges before end of March. This is a deadline, so you must get the soil prepared now. Spray off any weeds, and dig a trench along the required length. Pot Grown hedging can of course be planted at any time of year.
- Sow seeds of Begonia, Lobelia, Salvia and Pelargonium in a heated greenhouse or propagator to provide early plants. Tomato’s, Aubergines, Chillies and hardy herbs can be sown into a Heated Propagator and place on a bright window sill. You can expect new plants within a couple of weeks.
Sweet peas can be sown this month. Sweet peas sown earlier in the autumn can now be potted on taking care not to disturb the roots too much. Place them on a sunny windowsill, or on a high shelf in the greenhouse that gets plenty of light.
- Pot up summer flowering bulbs for colour in your garden from May to early winter. Dahlias, Gladioli, Begonias and Lillie’s offer long lasting flower colour if potted and placed in a warm bright location indoors now
Lawns – During dry mild weather cut your lawn for the first time. Set the mower blades higher than normal and collect the clippings using a grass box. Control lawn moss by applying a dressing of a moss control product to your entire lawn area. By treating lawn moss now you will prevent a major lawn moss problem this spring. Watch your lawn for signs of waterlogging, as the weather gets wetter. You can remedy the situation a bit, by spiking the lawn with a garden fork or mechanical aerator. Then fill the holes with a mixture of sharp sand and loam, brushed in using a stiff broom.
If your lawn is developing bare patches from walking on it during the wet, muddy season, then consider laying stepping-stones to allow easy access across it without causing damage.
- Harvest parsnips, swede, sprouting broccoli, Brussels sprouts, leeks, celeriac, Jerusalem artichokes and turnips.
- Start seed potatoes off indoors so they can develop green sprouts (known as “chitting”). Simply place the new potato tubers into a seed tray of compost and place into a bright frost free location. The shoots will appear in a couple of weeks. Choose some First Early varieties so you can have your own potatoes in Mid June!
- Tidy all wall climbers, trim and tie in where needed.
- Prune apple and pear trees.
Houseplants – Check that light levels are sufficient for houseplants. They will need light to carry on over the winter, and can easily be forgotten in a back or spare room that receives little natural light. They are best moved to sunny windowsill until March. Also remember not to leave houseplants on windowsills behind the curtains on frosty nights, especially if your windows are not double glazed. Water houseplants sparingly. Most should be barely moist in winter. Cacti also need very little water, and no feeding, over the winter. Keep them barely moist until the spring, when they will be coming up to flowering and will therefore appreciate extra water and feed