Four useful things to do to get your garden ready for the spring and a year full of gardening.
1. Sow seeds that need a longer season
In January and February, you can start to sow seeds of plants which require a longer growing season, such as Geraniums (Pelargoniums), Begonias, Antirrhinums, Peppers and Aubergines. They’ll need to be grown in a heated propagator or similar to ensure good growth.
2. Hunt down garden pests now
Hunting down and removing hibernating pests now can save a lot of trouble come spring and summer. Take a closer look at the crowns of your perennial plants and you may find slugs, snails and aphid colonies sheltering for the winter. If you still haven’t cleared last year’s pots of summer bedding then do this now and be on the look-out for the white vine weevil larvae, which live in the compost and feed on plant roots. Destroy any you find and be prepared to treat for vine weevils this year, using parasitic nematodes or chemical drenches.
3. Move deciduous shrubs
If you have a badly placed deciduous shrub then now is the time to move it whilst it’s dormant. Choose a still day to prevent the roots drying out. Take a wide berth around the shrub when digging it up and try to take as much of the root ball as possible for the quickest establishment in its new location. When planting shrubs in their new position, place them at the same level they were previously in the soil, and remember to water them in well afterwards.
4. Clean gardening tools
Give your tools a clean and a sharpen! Caring for your garden tools not only helps preserve them, it saves you money in the long run and helps prevent the spread of disease. Dirty secateurs may introduce bacteria and fungi to fresh pruning wounds. Sharpening your tools will also improve their performance; they’ll be easier to work with and will give cleaner pruning cuts.