- Continue to feed birds but avoid too much food accumulating. High energy foods such as fat balls and sunflower seeds and hearts are perfect.
- Keep drinkers and bird baths ice free in colder weather.
- Help beneficial insects and hedgehog by giving them somewhere to hibernate over the winter.
- Put food out for hedgehogs if they have not already found their ideal over winter home. They will still pop out to eat on some warm mild days.
- By putting nest boxes in place before spring you will provide shelter for birds in colder weather and help speed up their spring house hunting.
Trees, Shrubs and Flowers
- Now is an ideal month to plant trees if the ground is not frozen. There are many varieties for smaller gardens and they are a great natural habitat. For the best results use bone meal in the planting hole this will stimulate root growth.
- Plant tulips deeply into the ground and/or in containers for a fantastic spring display.
- Spring flowering bulbs all need to be planted before the ground gets too frozen to dig planting holes in.
- Cut back yellowing foliage on herbaceous perennials.
- Lift and divide large perennial clumps.
- Prune shrub roses 1/3 total height to protect from wind rock and root damage.
- Shrubs normally pruned hard in the spring can be cut back by half now such as Lavatera and Buddleja. This will prevent wind rock and keep them tidy.
- If you are making the last cut set the mower to a higher level.
- Edge your lawn.
- Aerate your lawn with a fork to prevent waterlogging.
- Rake up any leaves and compost them.
Fruit and Vegetables
- Start pruning fruit trees and bushes when the leaves have fallen. The RHS website has great tips on how to do this depending on which fruit you grow.
- Check stored apples regularly and pick out any damaged fruit.
- Sow Broad beans such as Aquadulce Claudia for harvest in May/June if you did not do this last month.
- Plant over winter garlic for a great crop next year.
- Plant currant bushes and raspberry canes.
- Lift parsnips after the first frost.
- Check stored potatoes and nay that are rotting.
- Plant currant bushes when they are dormant.
- Cut of runners and remove dead leaves from strawberry plants.
- Spread manure across your vegetable beds to rot down over winter.
General Maintenance and Structures
- Insulate the greenhouse with bubble wrap if you are using it to over winter plants.
- Clean patios and paths with a patio cleaner to prevent slippery algae.
- Check tree stakes and ties.
- Rough dig clay soils when soil conditions are suitable (not wet or frozen) to help it break down overwinter by freezing and thawing.
- Make sure you have fleece, cosies and cloches available to protect plants when the temperature drops.
- Plant Paperwhite narcissi in bowls for fragrant flowers at Christmas. They are very easy to bring to flower, just keep them in a cool place until the foliage starts to show and then put them in a sunny spot.
- Create a compost bin.
- Raise pots off the ground to prevent water logging.