30/12/2013

Garden tasks calendar

For many of us, the winter months are a period in which no one wants to spend hours outside in the wind, cold and rain tending their garden. This can leave the garden to become a little over run and often wondering what to do first.

Below we have created an annual gardening task calendar to allow you to plan your year in the garden and maximise your plant and shrub growth.

January 

January is the ideal month to start planning your gardening activities. You should consider what fruit and veg you wish to grow, what plants you wish to plant and how you want the garden to look in the summer. 

You should take some time and write a list of your gardening goals so that you can plan your gardening ahead of time. 

One of the easiest and quickest ways to give your garden a boost of colour in the winter months is to give a lick of paint to any old garden furniture, trellises or fences and hose down your drive and pathways to remove any moss or other plant material. 

One other easy and simple method is to repair any fallen borders or boundaries and to remove any rotting leaves or debris. You should add any collected organic material to your compost bin to use later on. 

February 

Winter is nearly at an end, making gardening a little more pleasant. February is the time to begin working on your potted plants to ensure they remain full of life until the spring. 

Go around and dead head any flowers and replace the top layer of soil with fresh compost to ensure they receive sufficient nutrients. Take some time to pin back any shrubs that offered flowers protection from frost to enable them to grow in the coming months. 

The biggest job of the month is weeding your entire garden. By getting on top of the task now you will benefit for the remainder of the year. 

March 

Spring is in the air! Use March as the time to give your lawn some TLC. Gently rake your lawn and aerate the subsoil using a scarifier. This will encourage root development of your grass. If you grass needs a cut then do so, however do not cut it using your lawn mowers shortest setting. You will end up with a muddy mess and are likely to damage the grass. 

Fertilise your flowerbeds with compost or feed. This will ensure the soil is rich with nutrients enabling your plants and flowers to grow their best. 

If you are lucky enough to own a greenhouse use March as the month to give it a once over. Ensure the windows are squeaky clean, that there are no dead plants and ensure you provide plenty of ventilation during warmer days. 

April 

By now you can see the colour starting to come back into your garden. Flowers are beginning to bloom and your hard work from the previous months is paying off. 

Use April as the time to take stock and evaluate what you have done so far this year. In March you may have cut the grass for the first time and may have discovered some bare or thinner patches. In April sow some grass seed to repair your lawn and ensure that it is looking its best for the summer. 

Take some time to pin back any roses or climbing plants to their supports to ensure that they grow where and how you want them to. 

If you want to move any evergreen bushes or shrubs, use April as the time to do this. Ensure that the ground isn’t frozen or waterlogged before doing this. 

May 

Simple but effective – remember to keep your potted plants regularly watered. If you are using a hose you must ensure that you spray any potted plants using a fine mist in order not to damage the plants. Garden hose nozzles are readily available in most good garden centres, however Gardena products are highly recommended. 

By now your lawn will need cutting once a week. You should cut this in opposite directions each week to ensure the grass grows properly. 

Hedges will start to grow out of control so you should start to cut these back also. Before doing this ensure that you have checked them for any nesting birds. Check your plants regularly for snails, slugs etc. and re-locate them where possible. 

June 

Its full steam ahead as we begin to race into the summer. Place your hanging baskets on the wall and be the pride of the town. June is the month to move your containers outside where it is warm to enable additional growth of your plants. Shade your greenhouse from the summer sun to prevent it getting too hot and killing off your plants. Try to water plants and grass in early morning or later in the afternoon to avoid magnifying the sun’s rays and damaging the organic material. 

August 

Like July most of the gardening tasks in August are similar. You may decide to go on holiday for a couple of weeks so you may want to ask a friend or family member to help look after your garden. Now that it is warmer it is the ideal time to pay particular attention to your gardens water features. Ensure that any ponds, water butts are full and not running low, and remove or trim any over grown pond plants.

September 

Summer is drawing to an end and the kids will soon be heading back to school. Make the most of the last bits of extra time you may have and ensure all plants are kept well fed and watered. 

October 

October brings the start of the bad weather. Autumn is upon us and the leaves start to fall from the trees. Start collecting any fallen leaves regularly and add them to your compost bin. Failure to collect your leaves may result in your grass becoming suffocated, as the leaves cover the lawn preventing sunlight from reaching it. Collecting the leaves can be done easily with a general garden rake or an electric rake. 

After collecting the leaves from your lawn, spray a strong moss killer on your lawn to prevent any moss from growing and damaging the grass. Dig over your vegetable patch and start getting it prepared for next year and sow any winter growing veg. 

November 

The cold weather is now upon us so it is time to protect your garden furniture. Bring it inside, move it into the garden shed or cover it with a weather resistant protective sheet. You should also bring in your garden hose and other watering equipment to prevent the cold damaging them.

Take some time to insulate your greenhouse. This can easily be done by placing bubble wrap around the windows to ensure your plants stay a little warmer during the winter. You should also clean the greenhouse inside and out with a bucket of hot soapy water. 

Have a thought for the wildlife in your area and ensure bird tables and bird boxes are put outside with fat balls and bird seed. This will help fatten them up for the winter and help bring more wildlife to your garden. 

December 

Heavy frost and snow can cause havoc for your garden. With heavy frosts, especially in the north of the UK there are some practical steps you should take to protect your garden. When there is frost or snow, ensure that your pond always has one clear area to allow the air to get in. This will allow the water to oxygenate allowing your fish or pond life to breathe.

If heavy snow is present go around your garden and gently shake any branches of trees and plants to prevent the weight of the snow breaking them. Try and move branches of bigger trees etc. in front of smaller more delicate plants to help shelter them from the elements.

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