The beginning of the gardening year? Yes – because it’s the ideal time to plant many types of colourful perennials and shrubs to enjoy next year. Hardy plants planted now will settle in over the winter and will start growing much sooner and faster in spring.
What to do if you haven’t much time
- Apply a fine mulch (not bark) to soils to feed them and improve their structure. A 2-3” (5-8cm) layer added now and lightly forked into the top couple of inches will start to be incorporated into the soil by the worms. Around plants that you find have roots close to the surface, like hostas and some shrubs, just lay the mulch on top and don’t fork it.
Trees, Shrubs & Hedges
- Plant container-grown climbers and shrubs
- Move evergreen shrubs
- Prune climbing roses to reduce damage from the strong winter winds.
- Prepare ground for planting bare-root trees and shrubs
- Trim conifers again if necessary
- Plant hedges of evergreen and deciduous plants
- Prune climbing roses
- Take hardwood cuttings
- Cut back perennials
- Plant new herbaceous perennials
- Lift and divide overgrown clumps of perennials, adding planting compost or mulch
- Finish planting all spring-flowering bulbs and lilies now
- Lift dahlias, gladioli, cannas and other tender tubers and bulbs – before the frosts. Allow to dry out a little in a well ventilated, dry shed or garage and then store in a cool but frost free place that’s also well ventilated.
- Continue planting containers with spring-bedding plants and bulbs
- Don’t forget to buy perennials and shrubs for winter colour
- Rake out thatch, aerate and top-dress lawns
- Make new lawns – with seed early in the month, or with turf all month
Vegetables and herbs
- Dig in green manure crops
- Finish lifting main crop potatoes
- Continue lifting carrots and beetroot
- Plant out spring cabbages, autumn onion sets and garlic
- As soon as crops have been harvested, start winter digging of heavy clay soils, adding lots of well rotted organic matter such as mushroom compost or farmyard manure. The frosts will help to break down the clods of clay for you. Do NOT dig sandy soils at the moment as that will increase the rate at which nutrients are washed out of the soil over winter.
- Finish picking main crop apples
- Clean up strawberry beds
- Spray peaches and nectarines against peach leaf curl
- Prune blackcurrants, blackberries and hybrid berries
- Buy bubble polythene
- Sow sweet peas for next spring
- Grow radishes, mustard, and cress for winter salad