General tasks and garden maintenance
Continue to dig over existing beds and borders, again incorporating as much organic matter as you can. Forking over not only helps prepare the soil for spring, it helps reduce pests by exposing them to hungry birds.
Although temperatures should start to rise this month, there is still a risk of frost and even snow. Protect vulnerable plants, pots and taps from frost by wrapping insulation such as garden fleece around them and check pots and containers are raised off the ground if possible. Tender trees and shrubs will thank you for a generous application of dry mulch to protect their roots from freezing conditions.
Once the ground isn’t frozen, make new beds and borders – mark the shape with sand trickled from a bottle, remove the top layer of growing vegetation and dig the ground over, incorporating as much organic matter as possible. If you are making a bed in the lawn, remove the turf and stack it upside down somewhere out of the way – after a year or two it will rot down into fantastic compost. Alternatively chop it up and bury upside down in the planting hole a good spade’s depth down. Beware – if you just dig it in the buried grass will regrow and regrow and regrow and…
Remember not to let leaves accumulate around alpines – they will die if left damp for long. Cover bare patches around clumps with gritty compost to encourage regrowth.
When the weather allows, carry on clearing paths, check walls (but avoid concreting until there is no chance of frost), clean and insulate greenhouses and ensure heaters are working properly. Even a little insulation will make a huge difference to your heating bill.
Clean and repair your garden tools, book the lawn mower in for a service and check garden furniture for any rot. When it is warm enough, treat sheds, fences and trellis with wood preservative; brushes and rollers are fine for most things, however a sprayer is well worth buying for tricky projects such as woven panels!