Thursday, April 26, 2018

02 Jan

Happy New Year – Time to Get Back in the Garden!

Welcome to the New Year and the start of the next gardening season!

We hope you have had a fantastic New Year and are keen to get back in the garden ready for spring. Spring is one of our busiest times and definitely our favourite gardening season. As everything starts to wake up from the dormancy of winter there’s finally lots to do in the garden again!

Sowing and Planting

Start to plan ahead by looking at seeds and garden designs for inspiration. What better time to try something new! Sketch out planting plans and crop rotation plans before you start making changes.

If you are lucky enough to have workable ground you can still plant bare root trees, fruit bushes and hedges this time of year.  Bare root roses establish easily if they are planted now, just remember to prune them back to prevent wind rock and encourage new growth from the base.

Fruit and Vegetables

Your vegetable plot may be looking a little bare this time of year. Fill it with winter veg – It’s time to sow salad leaves, bulb onions, sprouting seeds and start growing those greenhouse tomatoes!

If you didn’t choose to harvest your parsnips and add them to your Christmas dinner,  you can dig them up whenever you like this month, they’ll taste fantastic after the frost we’ve had. Artichokes, brussel sprouts, winter cabbage, carrots and leeks also need to be harvested this month.

Check on any stored fruit and veg to make sure they don’t show any signs of decay. Remove all bad fruit and vegetables, separate any left over to reduce the spread of disease and increase air flow.

Hopefully, many of you will be thinking up some gardening resolutions, if you are – let the first be maintenance!  Much like December, maintenance is the most important thing this month. Your garden is at its most dormant so there’s plenty of time to plan for spring.

Maintenance

The weather may be deterring you from venturing outside to prune your garden, but don’t worry – you can hold off for a week or two but winter pruning needs to be done before the first signs of spring! January is a great month to prune most deciduous trees and shrubs. Fruit trees can be pruned at this time but be careful not to prune spring flowering plants.

Know your soil! Find out what plants will flourish best in your soil by testing the ph levels and finding out what type of soil you have in your garden. Have you ever wondered why your garden plants aren’t flourishing as well as you hoped? Testing your soil is the most accurate way to find out how to improve your soil type and in turn your plants!

Check that stored items like bulbs are healthy and throw away any that look soggy or mouldy looking before the problem spreads to the others.

It’s time to sharpen and clean the blades on secateurs and knives to ensure that they’re ready for action next spring. Keep up with fixing odd things around the garden and give your sheds and greenhouses a clear out of all dead or dying plants and generally clear that clutter! Remember- tidying removes hiding places for slugs and snails reducing their numbers next summer.

Protection

Keep protecting your garden plants from wind rock as we advised In December and keep those pots and containers wrapped up!  Your garden furniture is also at risk, cover furniture with polythene sheeting to protect it from becoming damp and possibly rusty.

Brush off any snow fall in your garden with a broom or something similar. Snow fall can be a welcome layer of protection for your plants but can also snap and break branches if left to build up.

Your birds are at risk this time of year- remember to replenish and add water for birds to drink out of throughout the winter. Watch out for bird nests when pruning. Many gardeners assume that birds aren’t hungry when they look plump; birds actually fluff up their feathers to minimize the loss of heat from their bodies when they are seriously hungry. Click here to view our full range of bird food.

Try to avoid standing on your lawn too much, the ground will have frozen and walking on the grass can snap and damage it.

Keep your soil covered – for the next few months any bare patches of soil should be covered in leaf mould or mulch. Mulch requires very little work, and is great for applying to the roots of established or flowering plants.


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