Posted by David Domoney, on January 3, 2022.
The start of a new year is a great opportunity to decide what you want to accomplish in the garden during the year and any new challenges you want to set. The beauty of gardening is that there is always something to keep you busy, and these tasks change through the year. This guide will give you a helping hand so you’re making the most of your garden.
Though we are making our way out of winter, there is still a chance of frosts and snow, so it’s vital to check that any vulnerable plants that were covered or wrapped with fleece are still protected. In the case of a blizzard, clear fallen snow away from plants to stop them from bowing or breaking from the weight of it. Any tender plants that were moved indoors or covered with a sunny forcing cloches are best kept in safety until the weather begins to warm.
It’s not only your plants that need some attention over winter because wildlife will appreciate a bit of care too. Keep water sources such as bird baths filled as a space to drink and bathe and top up any food sources such as bird feeders so lend a hand to our flying friends.
Another great source of nutrition for birds are berries such as Sorbus aucuparia (rowan), the fruits are enjoyed by waxwings, redwings, and thrushes. Then, come spring the clusters of white flowers are appreciated by pollinators, making them an all-round winner for wildlife. Plant these bare-root trees between November and March which is the dormant season, a great time to plant many deciduous plants.
Spring in your step
A sure sign of spring is the appearance of classic bulbs such as cheery daffodils and tulips to signify the start of the growing season. It’s a busy time in the garden, with lots to sow and grow. Once the soil has began to warm, sow seeds such as broccoli, carrots, courgettes, and tomatoes.
Now is the time to get back into the swing of regular lawn care. For the first cut of the year, around March, wait until the grass is dry and raise the blades to their highest to avoid scalping the grass. Rather than discarding the cuttings, add them to your Eco-King compost bin as a green material to add plenty of nitrogen to the mix to create organic matter. Once mown, bare spots in the lawn can be filled in with grass seed and topsoil, then kept moist to encourage germination,
During growing season it’s ideal to keep the energy up in the garden by feeding plants so they perform their best. A high potassium feed for flowers will help to bring bigger and brighter blooms. Meanwhile it’s a great time to give container plants a little refresh by replacing the compost with fresh potting mix and adding a slow-release fertiliser to keep them growing their best.
Although the British climate is unpredictable, we may have long dry spells during the summer. Therefore, keep an eye on plants and remember to water to keep them hydrated. Not only will your garden plants need more of a drink, but houseplants will need more regular watering too. Using water collected in a water butt is best because rainwater has a suitable pH for most plants and will stop the build-up of chemicals in the soil or on the leaves. Pick a water butt that is functional and aesthetically appealing to complement the rest of your garden design, such as the Antique Amphora terracotta one to bring a taste of the Mediterranean.
A break in the rain is also a good time to check all the structures in your garden and give them a bit of care if needed. Paint fences, sheds, arches, and pergolas whilst there’s time for them to dry.
The sight of leaves turning fiery shades of orange and red is a wonderful sign of autumn, but falling leaves can cause slip hazards in the garden, so it’s ideal to keep on top of raking and sweeping them up. To stop leaves from causing blockages, use netting to cover ponds. Although, leaves shouldn’t be discarded because they are a useful resource in the garden, they can be added to the compost heap or bundled into black bin bags and placed behind the shed or garage where they will break down into leaf mould to be added to your beds and borders as a soil conditioner the following year.
This is the time to prepare for the winter season ahead. Look ahead for frost predictions and ensure tender plants are getting the protection they need. Move tender plants into a greenhouse or conservatory and wrap plants like palms in horticultural fleece to set them in good stead for the oncoming chills. Raise plants off the ground using pot feet or old wine corks, so containers don’t become waterlogged.
Whether you’re growing fruit and veg or want an ornamental garden, there is plenty to do throughout the year to keep you busy. Each season has different tasks to ensure your garden is ticking along nicely, and this gardening calendar will keep you on track.