Now that spring has sprung it’s time to get busy in the garden and although it’s still wet and cold, there are a lot of jobs that can be done now in preparation for the coming months.
Sheds and Greenhouses and Tools
Begin by clearing out all pots, tools and old compost. Sweep and remove all debris. Following instructions on the tin, add quantity of Jeyes fluid to a bucket of water. Jeyes fluid is excellent for killing pest and disease in greenhouses and removing green algae from glass. Using a sponge, apply to all glass and frames to get into cracks etc. Take a soft broom and complete the job by gently scrubbing all surfaces. Hose with clean water and leave to dry. Pots etc can also be cleaned with this solution. Next check all tools, for damage to handles etc. Clean, sharpen and oil.
Cut back all winter pansies and trim back winter heathers to prevent from getting leggy. Remove top couple of inches of old compost and replenish with fresh compost ready for spring and summer planting. Remove any dead or diseased plants.
Climbers, Shrubs and Grasses
Firstly, remove all dead and deceased material. Cut back climbers such as Ivy, Virginia creeper and summer flowering clematis. Wisteria can also be pruned back by cutting back last year’s growth to two or three buds. Don’t forget to feed once you have pruned.
Prune winter flowering shrubs that have finished flowering such as Winter Jasmine (J. nudiflorum). Viburnum x Bodnantense, V.farreri, V. tinus; Mahonia Japonica; Buddleja; Cornus; Salix;Weigela; Hardy Fuchsia. Notice if plants have flowered on this year’s current growth or previous. If it is the former it is best to prune in early spring. And if the latter, time to do it is immediately after flowering. Begin by removing all dead, deceased and old tangled branches. Shorten growing stems, always cutting back to something, like a pair of leaves or a bud. Feed and mulch.
Roses can also be pruned now by removing all dead and deceased growth back to healthy wood. Cut weak stems back by two- thirds and thin out centre of bush if overcrowded. Cut back other stems to about knee height. Feed and mulch
Deciduous grasses can be cut back hard and evergreen grasses just need dead and deceased material removed. Herbaceous perennials can also be lifted and divided.
Check all hedging for dead and deceased growth and remove, cutting back to healthy wood. Remove any mis-placed growth. Hedges can be lightly trimmed before the nesting season starts. A light spring feed of fertilizer such as chicken pellets or bone meal is beneficial. Bare root hedging can be still planted now.
Snowdrops (Galanthus) can be lifted now with the leaves on and gently teased apart and replanted singly or in small clumps. Plant to the same depth and water in. Summer flowering bulbs such as
Echinacea, Agapanthus, Dahlias, Lillies, etc can be sown now.
Vegetable, Fruit and Herb Garden
As long as the ground is not frozen or waterlogged now is the time to prepare vegetable seed beds. Begin by digging over and incorporating some organic matter such as composted manure. Cover the plot to allow soil to warm up prior to planting in March.
Indoor planting of hardy vegetables can take place now under cover before transplanting later to beds. Plants such as tomatoes, spinach, globe artichokes, celery, lettuce, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, shallot, onions and leeks can be planted in greenhouse.
Prune currants and gooseberry bushes before early March, by cutting out the old wood, allowing them to heal before spring growth. Bare root fruit bushes can be planted.
Protect fruit and vegetable crops from birds by netting.
Now is the time to chit the seed potatoes for planting out in March by allowing them to start sprouting shoots in a frost-free place.
Herbs such as parsley, thyme, sage and rosemary can be planted.
Stay off lawns as much as possible during February as it is easy to damage the soil structure of waterlogged or frozen ground. If conditions allow, now is a good time to treat moss using Sulphate of Iron and rake with a spring tine and scarify. Weeding can also begin by digging out perennial weeds. Border edges can also be tidied.
Bare root trees can be planted now. Container grown trees can be planted once the ground is neither waterlogged nor frozen. Apple trees can be pruned.