Seeds to plant now:
Indoors or in a heated greenhouse
Outside under cover
Shows and events:
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Jobs to do in the garden this week.
- Prune overgrown or newly planted blackcurrants back hard - almost to ground level, this will 'open up' the plant and encourage new shoots, producing fruit the following season. Blackcurrants mainly fruit on last year's growth. Normal pruning is restricted to removing the old fruiting branches, just after fruiting, leaving new shoots to bear fruit next year.
- Tidy up any remaining leaves and general garden rubbish. It's home to slugs, snails, vine weevil and woodlice and can introduce disease and infection into your garden.
- Geranium cutting should be taken in now. Cut off a 8cm (3in) shoot just below a leaf joint (node), remove all but the top pair of leaves and insert the cuttings 4cm (1.5in) into a small pot of potting compost. Gently water in the cuttings and place in a warm, well-lit place. When they have begun to produce more leaves they can be moved to larger pots, containing general-purpose compost.
- Plant summer fruiting raspberry canes.
- Plant lily and gladioli bulbs in 4in (10cm) deep holes. Cover with soil or compost and gently firm down the soil to ensure that there are no air pockets as this may cause the bulbs to rot.
- Apply fertilizer containing nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus around trees, fruit bushes and shrubs.
- Remove algae and moss from patios and paths with a proprietary patio and path cleaner or tar-oil winter wash.
- If you have had a fall of snow, gently shake shrub branches, a build up of snow and ice can cause branches to snap.
- After a frost try to stay off the grass. Treading on the lawn in frosty conditions can damage the grass.
- Refirm the roots of any shrubs that may have been lifted by frost.
- Switch outside water taps off at the mains and leave the outside tap open, draining any water, so the pipes don't freeze.
- Put out feeders for birds, not forgetting fresh water. Encouraging birds into the garden will help reduce the number of insects and slugs.
- Keep an eye on the weather forecast. Cover shrubs that are likely to be damaged by frost with garden fleece, sacking or an old light blanket.
- On a dry still day rake up fallen leaves, don't put them on the compost heap, as leaves break down in a cold process, whereas a traditional compost heap breaks organic matter down in a warm/hot process. Put them into a leaf composter, or make leafmould.
- How to make leafmould.
- Left on the lawn, leaves will prevent light reaching the grass, and trap moisture, killing the grass and encouraging the spread of moss. Collect the leaves with a garden rake or leaf blower. I then run over the leaves a few times with my lawnmower (with the grass box removed), so the leaves are shreaded, this speeds up the rotting process as well as reducing the amount of space needed to store them. Pile the leaves, or shreadings into black bin liners, add some water and after tying the tops of the bags, poke some holes in the side with a garden fork and store them in a secluded part of your garden. In 12-18 months you should have some nice leafmould.
- If you have any decorative plant pots that aren't frostproof. Empty them of all soil and store them in the shed, greenhouse or garage.
- Plant or move roses. They like plenty of sun and a clay soil. Leave 60cm (24in) between plants to allow air circulation, which will reduce the chance of infection.
- As the nights draw in houseplants will require less feeding and watering. However as the temperature drops outside the central heating goes on and the temperature in the house tends to go up. Ensure your houseplants don't dry out.