Wintry weather and a shortage of daylight hours at this time of year can often inhibit gardening activity. Use this spare time to look at last year’s successes and failures and then plan the year ahead. If ground is workable (not frozen or too wet) turn the soil this will expose insect eggs for all the hungry birds and also help to break apart heavy clods of dirt.
Trees and Shrubs
This is an ideal time to plant trees, hedging or shrubs with bare roots. Mix some organic matter into the soil when filling the planting hole and stake the trees firmly. If unable to plant them immediately cover the roots with soil in a temporary position to prevent drying or rotting.
Place seed potatoes in trays with eyes upwards to encourage sprouting and store somewhere light away from frost. Plant rhubarb when soil conditions are suitable. Continue to dig over vacant areas of the vegetable patch and add some manure.
Give flowerbeds a light working with a fork to let in some air taking care not to disturb the bulbs. Spread a thin layer of manure over the soil between border plants. And remember to protect any annuals sown in autumn from frost.
Avoid walking on your lawn on frosty days as it can damage the shoots. Now is the time to book your mower in for a service to ensure it’s in full working order for when you come to do your first cut.
Clean the area around the edge of the pond removing all dead leaves. If you have fish make sure the water doesn’t freeze so the fish can breathe.
Place potted bulbs in a cool spot indoors until the shoots measure over 8cm high. When the flower heads appear move the bulbs to their chosen flowering position, feed and water.