This month and the next are the coldest of the Winter so most of the work in the garden is restricted to the fine sunny days.

The lawns will not be growing so this is the time to get the lawnmowers serviced and sharpened.

I have now lifted all my tuberous begonias and once they are dried off will give them a light brush and check them over for any signs of black vine weevil or rot.

I've also lifted the chrysanthemum plants and put them in trays of potting mix ready for them to grow new shoots for taking cuttings in the Spring.

Dahlia tubers that have been lifted and stored need to be looked at and only the sound ones that have eyes kept.

Next month is the start of the indoor Spring seed sowing so the preparation of the seed trays or pots by washing and disinfection should be done. I like to use fresh seed raising mix each year; any of last seasons unused mix I will spread on the garden.

Bare root fruit trees will now be on sale. These I like as I can see the root structure of the plants before I buy them and there is also plenty of choices for shape so I can choose for how I intend to grow them.

This is considered the pruning time for most fruit trees and roses which is best done on warm sunny days.

Winter treatments for pests and diseases following pruning is recommended.

The new seed catalogues will be available to look over and order but if you are like me it may be a good idea to check the seeds you already have and get rid of any that are past their use by date, and order those that are needed.

We all have insecticides, fungicides and herbicides in the shed and along with fertilisers I suggest that you check them over so that you use up the opened packets first before buying more.

Michael Coulter

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