VEGETABLES

 

FLOWERS

Lift trench celery from now until Christmas replacing the soil to protect the remaining plants.

 

Complete the planting of hardy perennials, hyacinths and tulips.

Plant garlic cloves from now until February. A cold period of at least one month with temperatures of less than 10ºC is needed in order for bulbs with separate cloves to form.

 

Agapanthus in cold areas will need extra protection from severe frosts. Cover the plants with straw or bracken.

Harvest leeks. Trim off the roots and excessive leaves.

 

Clean gladioli corms; discard old corms and separate bulbils for storing and growing on in the spring.

Sow hardy broad beans for an early crop (in May/June) but you should still protect the seedling from frost with cloches (e.g. a plastic lemonade bottle).

 

Apply bark or mulch around tender herbaceous perennials to protect them from the cold but use grit immediately next to the plant to allow any water to drain away.

If you are growing chicory for forcing then now is the time to put them in pots, cut off the top growth and cover with a bucket to produce tender white chicons through the winter.

 

Large tender plants such as tree ferns and banana plants need to be wrapped in straw to protect them from the cold. Straw is a good insulator but also allows air to circulate around the plant.

For an early crop of peas sow an early variety up until mid November. Try sowing in lengths of guttering pipe until established and then slide the seedlings into a prepared trench and protect with cloches.

 

Take hardwood cuttings from woody plants such as Dogwood, Willow, Buddleia, Tamarisk, Philadelphus, and Ornamental Currant, any time from now through to spring.

Pick Brussels sprouts as soon as the buttons are firm, starting at the base of the stem removing any yellowed leaves and open ‘blown’ sprouts as you go.

 

Cut back dead foliage on autumn flowering hardy perennials such as crocosmia and asters to make the garden look tidier and to remove places for pests to overwinter.

FRUIT

 

LAWNS

Plant apples and pears between now and early spring, whenever the soil is not too frozen or wet. Stake the tree at the same time taking care not to damage the roots.

 

After the 5th of November check the lawn for firework debris. Wood that had been attached to rockets should be removed to prevent possible damage to mowing machines.

Winter prune apples and pears (but not plum, cherries, damsons, peaches or trained bushes - except in their initial training) to reduce congestion and remove damaged branches.

 

In mild periods the lawn may require a final cut but avoid wet days or when a frost is forecast. After the last cut thoroughly clean the machine and cover bare metal parts with a thin layer of oil or grease to prevent rust.

Plant gooseberries 1.5m (5 ft) apart between now and late winter.

 

Continue to rake the fallen leaves from lawns.

GREENHOUSE

 

GENERAL

Good ventilation is as important in the winter as in the summer, but only ventilate the greenhouse on bright days when there is little wind and close it up before the temperature begins to drop in the late afternoon. Maintaining an even temperature guards against condensation.

 

Prune deciduous trees when they are dormant during the winter and before they start to become active in the summer. Exceptions are maple, horse chestnut, birch, walnut and cherry trees which will still bleed sap in the winter and so should be pruned in midsummer.

You can move pots containing summer flowering plants such as hydrangeas into the greenhouse for over-wintering, but check them to ensure that the soil does not dry out.

 

Empty old nest boxes this month and clean them with boiling water. Dry thoroughly. A handful of wood shavings can be placed inside so that the box may be used during the winter by birds for roosting.

Reduce the amount of water given to foliage plants, just keep the compost damp.

 

Move the contents of summer tubs and baskets to the compost heap.