The start of the new year marks your last few weeks on easy street before seed-sowing starts in earnest. Make the most of it by finishing off the winter jobs and getting ready for the new season. Whatever the weather, there’s still lots to do in the garden.

General tasks:

  • Keep an eye out for overwintering weeds as some, like chickweed, can still set seed and spread in milder spells.
  • Check trees and shrubs you planted in autumn to make sure the frost hasn’t lifted the roots out of the ground.
  • Keep an eye out for birds, leaving food out will help see them through the winter.

Ornamental garden:

  • Plant low box hedging for an elegant formal edging to parterres and knot gardens, spacing plants about 20cm apart.
  • Prune wisteria back to two or three buds from the main stems to tidy it up and show off flowers at their best.
  • Sow sweet peas in root trainer modules under cover for a scented display this summer.

Kitchen garden:

  • Chit seed potatoes by setting them out in egg boxes. Place somewhere bright and frost-free to sprout.
  • Prune grape vines while they’re still dormant, cutting back the side shoots to within one or two buds of the main stem.
  • Force rhubarb by covering the crowns with an upside down black dustbin or large plant pot with the holes blocked for long, slender, sweet stems within about eight weeks.

 

 With best wishes for a flourishing 2015 from all at Smith’s.