This Month in Your Garden.
Things to do - Month by Month

Things to do in February

Make sure garden birds have food and fresh water. Clean feeders and water dishes regularly to help avoid diseases.

Prune autumn raspberries, cutting all canes down to ground level.
Complete pruning of apple & pear trees, gooseberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants this month.

At the end of the month sow tomatoes, peppers and chillies in a heated propagator.

Sow onions, early leeks, cabbage, peas and lettuce under cover.

In mild areas sow broad beans, peas, cabbage, parsnip, beetroot and spinach under cloches when the soil has warmed.

Things to do in December

Rake up the last of the leaves.

Clear away debris to prevent harbouring slugs and snails.

Organize your Christmas Tree.

Send off for seed catalogues.

Move or plant deciduous trees or shrubs if soil is workable.

Cut shoots for indoor decoration.

Prune ornamental vines.

Sow seeds of hardy plants.

Things to do in November

Leave ornamental grasses uncut to provide protection for overwintering beneficial insects.

Check that tree stakes, fences and pergolas are secure and able to withstand windy weather.

On acid or neutral soils, consider fast-growing, fragrant, autumn flowering Camellia sasanqua cultivars for an unusual addition to the flower garden.

Complete planting out tulips and other spring flowering bulbs.

Mulch borderline-hardy perennials such as Salvia patens, Melianthus major and tender selections of agapanthus with a thick layer of compost to insulate them from frost.

Things to do in October

Pick any remaining fruit and vegetables that the frosts will spoil, including winter squashes, pumpkins, turnips, apples and pears.

Tie in newly grown canes of climbing and rambling roses to prevent wind damage from winter gales.

Pot up and bring under glass tender plants such as fuchsias, citrus and brugmansias before the first frosts, cutting them back if necessary.

October is still a good month to lay turf onto prepared, raked ground.

Lift and divide rhubarb plants that have been in situ for five years, or which have begun to decline in vigour. Retain only the youngest, outermost portions, discarding the centre of the clump.

Things to do in September

Continue deadheading late-season bloomers such as Dahlia and Salvia to keep them flowering to the first frosts.

Allow winter squashes as long as possible to ripen on the plant, but harvest before the first frosts.

Herbaceous perennials may be lifted and divided now to propagate and rejuvenate them. Replant immediately.

Plant up containers for winter and early spring colour. Underplant winter bedding in containers with spring bulbs, such as tulips and crocuses.

Begin clearing spent plants and dead or dying leaves, and give a general tidying to the garden to help prevent pests and diseases overwintering.

Things to do in July

Cut back hardy geraniums to ground level, after their first flush of flowers to encourage new foliage - and more flowers later in the year.

During drought periods, set the mower to give a higher cut, and avoid the use of high-nitrogen fertilisers.

Ensure trees and shrubs planted in the last year or two do not dry out. Planting in a slight hollow helps ensure that water is directed to their rootballs.

Regularly harvest courgettes and beans every few days to keep plants producing fruit.

Things to do in June

Plant out more tender vegetables. Peppers, courgettes, squash, sweet corn, outdoor cucumbers, runner beans and dwarf runner beans.

Be water-wise in drought conditions and only water what is essential. Leafy vegetables, newly planted ornamentals and container plants are priorities.

Prune wall-trained plums and cherries. Cut out badly placed or weak shoots (pruning now avoids silverleaf disease).

Water the crowns of tree ferns - many of the plant's roots are here so it is more effective than watering their bases.

Harvest first early or 'new' potatoes - start to dig up tubers whent he plants begin flowering.

Things to do in May

Plant out summer bedding once risk of frost has passed. Keep an eye on the weather forecast, and protect with fleece if necessary.

Protect crops from carrot fly with insect-proof mesh or fleece, securing it well by pushing the edges into the soil.

To avoid excessive temarature fluctuations in the glasshouse, apply shade paint or secure blinds to the outside of the glass.

Protect ripening strawberry fruit by surrounding plants with straw or propriety matting, then net plants to protect fruit from hungry birds.

Before clipping hedges, always check thoroughly for nesting birds, delaying the pruning if necessary.

Things to do in January

Clean, oil and sharpen garden tools, maintain mowers and other machinery.

Clean out your shed, reorganise you storage space making room for tools etc.

Treat and repaint fences, sheds and garden furniture.

Clean down the greenhouse, washing the glass inside and out to get the best light and get rid of the worst pests and fungal diseases.

Wash pots and seed trays.

Protect pond from freezing over.

Select and order seeds for the comning year.

Things to do in March

Rake lawns with a spring-tine rake to remove dead leaves and moss. Begin cutting with mower blades set high.Harden off young plants and seedlings gradually before planting out, and continue to protect them from late frosts.

Complete feeding and mulching of fruit. Sow release, potassium-rich granular or pelleted fertilisers are an option.

To maximise flower production, cut Hydrangea cultivars back to the first pair of strong buds below the old flowerheads. Remove a few of the oldest stems completely at their base.

March is a good month to plant or move broad leaved evergreen shrubs such as Viburnum and Ilex.

Things to do in April

Hoe off weed seedlings in vegetable beds and borders as they appear, to avoid them seeding around the garden.

Look out for aphid outbreaks - at this time of year they can multiply rapidly before predator numbers have built up. Squashing by hand is effective for the non-squeamish, or spray with an insecticide.

Plant summer flowering bulbs and tubers such as Canna, dahlias and lillies in containers and borders.

Tie in new growth of twining climbers such as clematis and honeysuckle to their supporting wires or trellis.

Repot house plants that are overcrowded.

Things to do in August

Give deciduous and evergreen hedges their final trim of the year. Ideally, clip so they are one third wider at the base than the top to minimise snow damage.

Ensure container-grown camelias do not dry out - they are forming next year's flower buds at this time.

Sow oriental vegetables such as mibuna and mustard greens for salad leaves.

Harvest onions and shallots when the stems are dry and papery, and soft-neck cultivars of garlic when the neck bends over naturally.

Complete harvesting second early potatoes and begin to harvest main crop cultivars when plants begin to flower.

The Donheads Gardening Club is affiliated to:

The RHS. and the The Gardens Group Sherborne.

We always welcome new members, please see our membership page for details.

Useful Links

Country Gardener Magazine

Open Gardens - National Directory

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