A Blackthorn Winter: You may have noticed an awful lot of blackthorn in blossom. This heavy blossom usually follows a hard winter and country lore says that you shouldn’t put new plants or vegetables in until the Blackthorn blossom is dying off as there are still likely to be frosts.
Hanging Baskets: Now is the time to sort out your hanging baskets.
Tip 1. Line hanging baskets with old tea bags – they hold water and release nutrients for the plants.
Tip 2. Old jumpers make super liners for baskets and look jolly as well.
Tip 3. You can avoid covering yourself in water when you water your baskets by putting a handful of ice cubes on top of the soil every so often.
Evergreens: Clip and prune evergreens and flowering shrubs and give them a good mulching,
Mulching: Mulching can be done with all sorts of things. Try to get as many of the deep rooted perennial weeds out as you can for the best results. The mulch must be thick enough to deprive the weeds of air and light. You could try:
Carpet squares or lengths with holes cut in for the plants
Newspaper laid in thick layers then covered with straw can later be dug into the soil if necessary. Alternatively you can cover the newspaper in bark or gravel
Old lino or vinyl floor covering is superb
Grass cutting laid 6” thick are an effective mulch round the bottom of currents or raspberries to keep down annual weeds
After sowing seeds, put a stick into the ground at the end of the row then place the seed packet or a label into a jam jar and put it upside down onto the stick
Individual seeds can be planted in tea bags and kept moist. When they sprout they can be transferred directly into the soil without upsetting the roots
Seedlings can be protected from pests with plastic bottles, using the end with the cap on so you can allow air in
Soot: Lily of the Valley enjoys being fed with water that has been mixed with a couple of tablespoons of soot. Leeks will grow stronger if you add two or three handfuls of soot to the soil when you plant them
Wildlife: If you are planting for the new season or moving your garden around, try to have an area with a bit of hedge where insects and small animals can shelter. Also reserve a small area which can go a bit wild, including some logs to encourage beetles and suchlike