Hints & Tips
It goes without saying (a phrase that is always to be followed by some idiot like me saying it) that if you are going to venture into your post New Year winter garden, you’ll probably need some woollies on! It’s pretty frosty out there as I write and every bobble hat ever made seems to be making an appearance in the streets.
As I step out into my garden I’m reminded of that great film All’s Quiet on the Western Front. It’s pretty grim out here and even the classy but slightly out of place statue of Buddha that sits contemplating its stony navel by the pond is looking a little frosty around the moobs. He was a wedding anniversary present from a friend of Mrs Drew’s and given in order to to ‘cheer up the garden’. Really? Well if it comes to statues of comedic geniuses, I’d probably have gone with Eric Morecome or Victoria Wood as I’ve never found the writings of Buddha to be remotely giggle producing but there we are.
Any-road up. If you’re going out there, make sure you’re wrapped up and move about as much as possible when it’s cold.
First up. Have a look at your trees and shrubs. Chances are they’ve taken a beating from one bit of dodgy weather or another.
So this is a good time to get rid of any dead or rotten wood, broken branches and so on and a good chainsaw could help. If you have a small or urban garden I can recommend this Einhell Petrol Chainsaw particularly as it comes with a FREE starter kit including helmet, visor, ear defenders, work gloves, replacement chain and a FREE bottle of oil and costs just £139.95 instead of £199.85
A pole pruner for the higher branches would be useful – we have a number of them here for you to look at all at very good prices
in fact, a general tidy up and pre-spring clean of your garden at this stage is a very good idea, don’t just take off the branches and twigs from the trees, pick up any foliage and branches from your lawn, beds and borders as well and make sure no pests are hiding underneath them. This can stop pests from spreading across the garden. All the wood can be dried and used in your stove or fire.
You can dig over any beds if the ground is not too frozen and cover prepared beds with plastic sheeting (or even those old carpet or rugs you’ve hated for ages) to stop weeds intruding before you’ve even started.
I see Dick was blogging about our min-tillers yesterday and, particularly if you have larger veg’ beds or an allotment, using these little power houses is a great labour saving way to prepare the ground. Have a look at the range here. There are some very good deals to be had.
It’s a good time to carry out general repairs to fences, trellises, sheds and anything else that may have been compromised over the winter.
This is a very good time to prune apple and pear trees, as they are snoozing ahead of the busy period. this will stimulate new growth and, as with the other trees and woody shrubs, gives you a chance to remove dead and broken woos. Don’t trim too much, about 20% is good. You can trim and prune climbing plants now as well. You will need a good pair of secateurs but, again, a good telescopic pruner would be useful.
Probably the most important thing is to start planning for the growing season. What goes where, what changes, what doesn’t? If you grow vegetables are you going to grow the same stuff that you did last year? Did you eat all the kale you produced because cookery magazines started featuring it in everything? Can you cope with another wind-inducing crop of Jerusalem artichokes? Are you going to try a bit of crop rotation? Do you need to start thinking about those orders for seed potatoes, onion sets and so on.
The season will soon be upon us so don’t neglect your garden, even though it seems an inhospitable place right now. A bit of prep will keep you warm, set up the garden for the spring and keep you fit into the bargain. But do remember to keep warm, don’t overdo it and bend your knees not your back…. and enjoy your garden. Drew Hardy
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