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Winter In Your Garden

1st of December 2012

f the weather is bad you will be able to stay in the warm and make plans but if the weather allows there is always plenty to do.

Fruit and vegetables.
Finish the winter digging as soon as possible adding farmyard manure as necessary so that the frosts can improve the tilth. Harvest and put into store rootcrops. Keep the weeds down. New season’s seeds will be in the garden centre soon after Christmas and some will need to be sown very early in the new year. Seed potatores will be on sale in January and they will need to be purchased early so they can be chitted in a light frost free place. Fruit trees and soft fruit can be planted as long as the ground is not frozen. Apples and pears should be pruned and sprayed against pests. Peach trees must be sprayed against peach leaf curl early in February and soft fruit bushes will need to be netted to prevent bird damage to buds.

Shrubs and perennials.
Planting can continue as long as weather permits. Cut back roses and prune late flowering shrubs. Move pot grown bay trees inside in very severe frosty weather. If we get a heavy snowfall snow shold be removed from shrubs to avoid damage. Roots of evergreens growing in containers are very susceptible to damage by hard frosts and it helps to wrap up the pot with bubble plastic or straw. Tie up leaves of young cordylines. Make sure that trees and tall shrubs are well staked to prevent wind rocking. Carry on with lifting and dividing herbaceous perennials cutting down where the plant looks bad but leaving grasses and shapely plants which can look really attractive when covered with frost. Consign leaves and plant prunings to the compost heap adding a little garotta to help the rotting process.

The greenhouse.
If not already done, insulate the house using bubble plastic. Make sure that the heater works well especially when it gets very cold outside. Bring in the tender perennials for over wintering. Dust dahlia tubers with sulphur dust to prevent rotting. Sow exhibition onions at the end of December and start to sow summer bedding plants early in the new year.

Garden and lawn.
Probably the lawn will not need to be cut until early spring so now is the time to get the mower overhauled. Keep off the lawn when wet or frozen. Get the secateurs sharpened. Lag outside taps and water pipes to prevent freezing. Drain pond pumps. Feed the birds and provide them with water in frosty weather and leave a heap of logs and leaves so that wildlife can over winer.

Don’t forget to visit the garden centre before Christmas where there are all sorts of things that make presents for gardeners.

Chelsea Flower Show 21-25 May. It is special because it is the 100th. Tickets are on sale now. www/ or phone 0844 338 7539.
Terry Simmonds

This page is edited by Tony

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