Get down and dirty

Winter is a great time to have a clean-out in the garden.

Wait for a crisp fine weekend, sort a green waste bin, rug up warm and head outside. By now, most of the deciduous trees will have shed their leaves, so rake them up and add to your composting, or bin.

Bare branches mean you can see what and where to prune with roses, fruit trees, and any deciduous trees. Deadhead any spent blooms, and check out your garden for dead or dying plants. Get rid of them, being careful not to add to compost if they show signs of disease such as black spot.

Now is a time to improve your soil, especially when prepping garden beds for spring growth. Dig in compost, and fertiliser, and cover with mulch to help insulate the soil from cold weather. Just as we wash our knives and forks, so too will garden tools benefit from regular cleaning.

Use steel wool and methylated spirits to clean and disinfect secateur blades before sharpening them with a whetstone. If tools are stored in a garden shed, then give that a sweep out as well.

Wear a mask and gloves when handling compost and potting mix.

• Keep composting
• Pruning
• Stock up on seeds
• Clean and sharpen tools
• Dig garden beds
• Plant bulbs
• Prune
• Soil preparation
• Maintain garden equipment

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