Some tasks you could do or might do now:
- Start with a plan.Do your best to source organically produced seed, free from environmentally disruptive chemicals such as neonics that have been linked with the decline of pollinating insects.. Use peat-free seed compost, try Klassman Organic Seed Compost available from Fruithill Farm.
- Early in the month, sow onion seed in an indoor propagator.Pot on autumn-sown sweet peas and place on a sunny windowsill. Pinch out if becoming leggy.Chilli and aubergine are slow growers, so order them this month for an early start. A heated propagator is another really useful tool that I’d also highly recommend.Take hardwood cuttings from deciduous and ever green shrubs, such as forsythia, willow and viburnum.
- Clear away soggy, collapsed stems of perennials and compost them – plants like sedum be careful of any new growth.Move dormant plants that are in the wrong place to more suitable sites.Check tree and shrub stakes to make sure that any ties are secure but not causing damage by rubbing. Bare rooted trees and shrubs can be planted, but not if the soil is frozen, keep a check on watering.
- Check dahalia and cana tubers to make sure they are not drying out.Check that small alpines don’t become smothered by fallen leaves and other wind-blown debris
- Pruning whatever the plant, you should always start by removing dead, dying or damaged branches.Don’t prune early flowering clematis and shrubs now, or you won’t get any flowers.It is best to leave shrubs such as hydrangeas and buddleia until late winter.Apple and pear trees can be cut back in winter, cutting no more than 20 per cent off all over — so that regrowth is even pruning stimulates new growth.Prune blackcurrants, gooseberries and redcurrants to maintain a productive framework. You can use pruning as hard wood cuttings to make new shrubs. Don’t prune plumb or other stone fruit trees, until late spring.