With a hint of spring over the weekend, there are enough bright sunshiny days to get outside, just for a while, to admire the spring bulbs and put the first seeds in.

What else can you do around the garden at this time of year? Here are a few helpful ideas;

General tasks:

  • Float a football on the pond to keep a small area free from ice so fish and other creatures can breathe and plants stay healthy.
  • Invest in a shredder to turn woody early spring prunings into chips small enough to go on the compost.
  • On the lawn, keep brushing away worm casts, as they can be troublesome at this time of year.

Ornamental garden:

  • Prune overgrown evergreens removing overcrowded or badly-placed shoots, feeding and mulching well afterwards.
  • Trim heathers as soon as they finish flowering, shearing back old flowers to just below the base of the flower stems.
  • Prune late-flowering clematis cutting down all growth to about 45cm, always pruning back to just above a healthy bud.

Kitchen garden:

  • Cover seed beds with cloches a couple of weeks before sowing to keep the soil dry enough to work and warm it up a little.
  • Sow peas in guttering spaced about 2cm apart for an instant row you can just slide into place in the garden.
  • Plant shallots in a sunny spot, spacing 15cm apart and sinking them into the soil till just the tips of the bulbs show above ground.