26th January 2018
With spring (fingers and toes crossed) not far away, there are things we can do now to make sure our gardens and allotments (or even that tiny space on the patio) are ready for the season ahead. It may seem a little early to think about getting out in the garden – especially as winter doesn’t want to go anywhere – but as always, the early bird will catch the worm.
Remove leaves, twigs and other things from your borders, patios, lawns and ponds. You can cut back dead grasses and perennials now. If it’s mild enough and the soil is soft enough, you can dig a layer of well-rotted manure or recycled green waste into empty garden borders to make sure they’re at their best in the spring.
This is one you can do in front of the fire on a cold, rainy day. Summer-flowering bulbs such as lilies and gladiolus can be planted in spring for a vibrant summer spectacle.
While it’s free from all manner of trays and compost bags (and if it’s not currently hiding your garden furniture from frost) sweep out your greenhouse. It’s also a good idea to disinfect the inside of the glass too – disease and pests will be hiding in the smallest gaps and cracks. Then ventilate your greenhouse well as the weather gets warmers so it dries properly.
Start to sow seeds of plants and vegetables that will need a longer to grow. Do a bit of additional research depending on what you want to grow – although we’re typing this with rather green fingers, temperatures and soil types can vary dramatically on where you live.
And no, we don’t mean the one’s children love to go on in the summer. Getting rid of hibernating pests now can save a lot of trouble later. Take a closer look at perennial plants and you may discover all manner of slugs, snails and aphids hibernating for the winter.
Spring is a great time of year to encourage our feathered friends back into our gardens, so you’ll want your bird feeders and baths looking their best. Clean the feeders with weak bleach solution. A little bleach and a lot of water should do it. And then wash and dry the feeders before filling them up. Clean birdbaths with the same bleach solution, then rinse them thoroughly and refill them. Remember to change the water weekly.
Deciduous shrubs will be fast asleep now, so if you have a badly placed one (or just want to move things around) now is the time. On a calm day dig it up and try to take as much of the root ball as with it as possible. When replanting shrubs in their new position, place them at the same level they were previously in the soil, and remember to water them well afterwards.
Get those annoying little jobs out of the way now and you’ll have more time to spend in the garden during spring and summer. A hammer and a few nails are often all you’ll need. When the weather gets a little warmer, it’s a good idea to give sheds and garden furniture a bit of tender loving care too.
Looking after your garden tools will save you money in the long run. Did you know, dirty secateurs may introduce disease to shrubs and plants? Sharpening your tools will also improve their performance – they’ll be easier to work with and will give cleaner cuts.
If you haven’t already (and you have space) try setting up a compost area in your garden. This could be a ready-made compost bin or you could build a compost bin yourself using any spare bits of wood. Not only will you have somewhere to put your garden waste but your plants will benefit from the rich compost. Make sure you have a good mixture of grass clippings, woody prunings, vegetable peelings and paper.