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In Your Garden This Winter

1st of December 2014

There are only six hours of daylight a day this month but still a lot to do, weather permitting, and there are some jobs we must do without delay. Make sure that the greenhouse heater is ready for the cold weather and check the pond heater, too. Lag outside water pipes and taps to prevent freezing and drain water from pumps and sprinklers. Lift dahlia tubers and take into a frost free place, dusting with sulphur dust to stop rotting. Lift tender perennials and take into the greenhouse. Stake tall plants to prevent wind rocking. Wrap up evergreen shrubs that are grown in tubs and take pot grown bay trees inside, if possible. Keep visiting a garden centre to get ideas and to get any problems solved.

Fruit and vegetables.
Dig the ground ready for the spring. Plant new fruit trees and carry out winter pruning and spraying once the leaves have gone but do not prune plum trees. Spray peach trees in January to prevent peach leaf curl disease. Protect cabbages from damage by pigeons and protect the buds of soft fruit from bird damage. Buy new season’s seed potatoes in January so that they can be chitted and, at the same time, choose vegetable seeds ready for next year’s crops Sow exhibition onions under glass just after Christmas.

Shrubs and perennials.
When weather permits, plant container grown trees and shrubs, climbers and herbaceous perennials. Cut down untidy plants in the hardy borders but leave penstemmons until the spring. Grasses, sedums and architectural plants look good when frosted in winter so are best left untrimmed. Protect tender plants from the wind and from frost damage and tie up the leaves of young cordylines. Apply nice thick mulches around trees and shrubs. Keep weeding and put all trimmings on to the compost heap, adding a sprinkling of Garotta to help the rotting process. Start to sow next year’s bedding plants in the greenhouse in January.

Lawn and garden.
Keep off the lawn when it is either frosty or wet and lay down planks if wheeling a barrow across grass areas. Do not put fertilizer on lawns during winter months. Now is the time to get the lawnmower serviced because it will be needed as soon as the grass starts to grow in the spring. Keep making compost and make sure that leaves are swept up at all times. Keep the garden tidy but leave a heap or two of logs and plant material to help wildlife to overwinter. And do not forget to feed the birds and give them water when it is frosty. Terry Simmonds

This page is edited by Tony

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