From Michael Coulter

The weather has cooled down and we have started to have frosts as the late Autumn, early Winter season arrives. We can now think about those tasks that will need to be done over the next few months, many which we can only do when the fine days allow us to be outside.

Cleaning up garden beds, pruning fruit trees and roses, planting new trees or shrubs and applying some preventative sprays on plants over this time are the main tasks during Winter.  We can also use this time to plan our planting for the next season. There are many plant catalogues from specialist nurseries and seed suppliers that we can look at to find those plants that we are interested in that are not readily available from garden centres or other retailers.

Before any tools are to be used for pruning they need to be clean and sharp so that they will make good clean cuts that will heal over quickly. Our other tools that we have used over the Summer should also be cleaned and sharpened (if needed) so that they will be ready for use in the Spring. The lawn mower should be given the annual maintenance check and sharpen in readiness for the rapid Spring growth.

Compost made with the fallen leaves will need to be turned and have some green matter mixed in to assist with the break down of the dry leaves. Winter greenhouse tasks that are needed now include removing any shade products and spent crops, washing down inside and removing any moss. Lastly, disinfect to stop any carry over of pests or diseases

Garlic and broad beans may be planted now as well as lilies some pansy, polyanthus, poppies and other Spring flowering plants. Any ground that new fruit trees are going to be planted in should be prepared so that it is ready for new season plants. New strawberry plants can now be planted so that they are well established in time for Spring growth, look for the day neutral cultivars as these give the longest harvest season.

For any gardening queries or advice throughout the month refer to our online facebook group which will be monitored over that time.