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What to do in the garden -1st Week of December

The Greenhouse


·  Prune both indoor and outdoor vines

·  Dig up rhubarb, pot up, and place in total darkness under a giant bin to force an early crop

·  Thoroughly clean glazing inside and out before putting up bubble polythene for insulation

·  Sow hardy annuals, like calendulas, in pots for early displays

·  Check bulbs, corms and tubers in store for signs of rot

·  Water sparingly in winter, taking care not to splash water around

·  Pick yellowing leaves and dead flowers from plants

·  Open vents on warm days

·  Follow weather forecasts closely to ensure you're setting greenhouse heating accurately


The Flower Garden


·  Rake up fallen leaves that could be sheltering slugs

·  Cut down dead perennials

·  Plant bareroot trees and deciduous hedges such as beech and privet

·  Trim autumn-flowering heathers

·  Collect fallen rose leaves that could carry diseases over to next season

·  Plant new roses

·  Transplant shrubs or small trees

·  Finish planting tulip bulbs

·  Hang bird feeders over rose beds to attract birds to pick off overwintering pests

·  Prune wisteria sideshoots to 10-15cm from their base, and tie in leading shoots to create a framework



The Fruit and Vegetable Garden


·  Prune away stems of autumn-fruiting raspberries at soil level

·  Prepare sites to plant new fruit trees and bushes, by improving soil with lots of organic matter

·  Hoe bare areas to remove weed seedlings

·  Use straw to prevent soil freezing around parsnips

·  Take hardwood cuttings from currants and gooseberries

·  Net cabbages and other brassicas to protect them from pigeon damage

·  Place forcing jars over crowns of seakale

·  Continue winter digging, adding spent mushroom compost to improve the soil

·  Winter prune apple trees



Around and About


·  Repair and treat fencing and timber structures while climbing plants are dormant

·  Bring all watering equipment indoors, including hoses and sprinklers

·  Wrap insulation around outside taps and cut off the water supply

·  Empty glazed pots that aren't frost-proof, and move under cover

·  Send off for mail-order seed catalogues and start planning seed orders

·  Scoop fallen leaves and rotting plant debris from ponds

·  Order summer-flowering bulbs such as lilies and gladioli

·  Get hold of some manure or mushroom compost to improve your soil

·  Check garden birds have water to drink, especially on frosty days when it might be frozen

·  Clean and sharpen pruning tools





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