Moss and Green Landscape Garden Design and Maintenance
AS the weather gets colder your plants will need TLC until spring rolls around again. My tips on keeping your garden happy this season
It is easy to write off January as a dark and dismal month. But while it is fair to say that the evenings are pretty dire, the mornings can be crisp and clear - and as the days gradually grow longer, there's plenty to be getting on with as you look forward to the start of the growing season.
Spring will soon be here and for those just itching to get out there and tidy after the festive season, here are some tips to help you make the most of the longer days and look forward to a garden to be proud of for the coming year.
JANUARY CLEAN UP
Have a tidy round the garden, brushing off lawns, sweeping paths and tickling the soil between spring bedding plants with a long-handled hand fork. Prune down dead and dry stems and remove weeds by hand. Don't worry about a handful of leaves here or there. Worms will emerge at night to feed on fallen leaves and other decaying plant matter, pulling them under the soil where they will help fertilise your plants.
EAT WHAT YOU SOW
Perhaps it’s the flavour of carrots that came out of the ground only an hour before dinner or the beauty of ripe tomatoes clinging to plants, or dark green spinach in a neat row. Whatever the reason, vegetable gardens offer much more than fresh food: they’re fun. It's the little things that you do in January that matter. If the ground is dry enough, rent a rotavator to turn over the soil, or incorporate a well rotted mature to nourish your soil.
Your spring broccoli is beginning to sprout now, so keep cropping it for a bountiful harvest. If you are lucky enough to have a poly tunnel or glasshouse, you can also sow early lettuce, which will give you a crop in late April / May. Now is the ideal time to plant radishes, fennel, broccoli, sprouting potatoes, early peas and pakchoi.
COMING UP ROSES
Most roses need pruning to remain healthy, encourage growth, prevent disease and improve air circulation. Start by slowly opening up the center of the bloom, removing wilted or rotting petals. Next, prune old flower heads and shorten all strong shoots by about two thirds. Finish up by putting one to two inches of compost at the base of your plant.
LOW DOWN ON LAWNS
January is a great month for lawn management so now is the time to ensure it's going to last through the winter. With a bit of careful work, you can look forward to a lovely, fresh, green carpet in the spring. January is a perfect month to scarify a lawn, it's bloody hard work but, with a little care and effort, it will leave your lawn completely free of moss and weeds.
PRUNING YOUR FRUIT TREES
To ensure an abundance of fruit over many years and maintain a tree's shape, pruning a mature fruit tree is an important part of its annual care. How well you prune it will determine its shape, height, and quality and quantity of fruit. New growth should be reduced by one third and any deadwood removed to avoid disease. Add compost to the bottom layer of the plant to achieve a bountiful harvest.
OUT OF THE COLD
Wrap up all your outdoor pots together with fleece or bubble wrap to protect against frost and keep in a sheltered area of the garden. Bring in frost-tender pot plants. A conservatory or porch is ideal. Reduce watering, but don't let the compost dry out, and feed over the winter.
WHAT TO DO THIS WEEK : Gardeners Checklist
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