Alan's Weekly Garden Tips - Week Fifty Two

AlanGardenMaster
Published on January 2nd 2020
11
A metal gate in the snow
The perfect antidote to overindulgence during the holidays is to get outside in the open air for a few hours. The days are short and cold but refreshing.
At this time year I've a few topical gardening suggestions that will have you up and ready to party again!

Planting

  • Plant roses, conifers, climbing plants and hardy shrubs. These establish better if planted now than if planted in spring. However, if the ground is too wet or frozen, it will be best to wait for better conditions.
  • Dormant trees and shrubs can be moved at this time of the year. Don't try to move items that have been established for many years as you are unlikely to succeed.
Always minimise root disturbance to increase the chance of success and rapid re-establishment. Retain as much of the fibrous root system as you can as these will establish first.
Digging up a tree next to a fence
Digging up a dormant tree and minising root disturbance
  • You can continue to plant fruit trees and bushes right through until spring. But only do it if the weather and ground conditions are okay - i.e. not frozen or waterlogged.
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Tidy up

  • Boring but important, this is a great time to take stock and have a bit of a tidy up. It will make life easier when we get busy in the next few months.
  • Check and repair fences. If dry enough, you should treat them with plant-friendly paint. Better to do it now than in spring when there is just so much to do!
  • Cut a small hole at the bottom of a fence panel to let hedgehogs in and out. They should be hibernating now, but it's an excellent wildlife-friendly project for winter.
  • Pots can get waterlogged in winter so stand them on pot feet to let the excess water drain away.
A pot stood on bricks
Make certain that surplus water can drain from pots
  • Clean and sharpen tools ready for use in the new year. Check any that need replacing.
  • Brush dirt and rust off all tools. Then coat with some oil to stop them rusting. Keep an oily rag ready to wipe over tools every time that you put them away.
A pile of gardening hand tools
Clean up tools ready for spring
  • If you have a garden shed or use a corner of the garage, now might be a good time to have a good tidy up!
  • Wash pots and seed trays so that they are clean and ready for sowing to start soon. Diseases- and even pests- can hide away in these.
A pile of old flower pots
Old clay pots in need of a clean!
Download the free Candide App to get help and answers from a warm community of gardeners, including Alan!
Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Soil prep

  • Get on with digging the veg patch whenever the weather allows you to. Pace yourself if you're not used to it!
A stainless steel garden spade. image credit J Bentley
A stainless steel garden digging spade is easy to keep clean. image credit Joseph Bentley
  • If you've got heavy clay soil, dig in Vitax Clay Breaker to improve the structure. This product sticks clay particles together to create a crumb structure. Dig in well-rotted organic matter to all areas except where you plan to sow root crops.
  • Fork over borders and dig some goodness back into the soil. I recommend composted green waste, spent mushroom compost or farmyard manure.
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