Happy New Year!

This time of year can be difficult to get going in the garden, it’s cold and damp and you are still recovering from the Christmas & New year holidays.

However, if you plan ahead there is still plenty to get excited about in the garden; your upcoming daffodils, snowdrops and not forgetting the evergreens. But there is always that dreaded cleaning-up stage that we all have to go through. However, did you know that removing dead plants and topping up your compost can really pay dividends?

To do this, you want to initially collect all those remaining leaves and get them in your compost bin. I started my own compost bin before Christmas by using an old tonne builders sack; these are really cost-effective. I add a good layer of the leaves and drop in a bag of horse manure. Finding manure is easy in Preston! There are plenty of stables in the area, just remember to take your own bags. I also add any old plants and the depleted soil. If you have time to do this weekly, all the better!

Remember, those unsightly worms will happily do most of the work for you and produce excellent soil; they can merrily tolerate a wide range of temperatures. Believe it or not, I spent several years as a biological scientist on a worm farm. However, if the temperature drops below zero for a lengthy time you will need to cover the compost pile, virtually anything will do, old carpets, bedsheets, or pop into your local garden centre for something savvy.

Another tip for the winter is to ensure you check on any plants you have been protecting this winter. I normally protect fuschias throughout the season with hay or straw. Although, If using hay or straw, please remember that wildlife could easily be hibernating here, so please be careful when uncovering.

Winter is also a time to start planning the coming year’s crops. Many crops need sowing in February and March, so be sure to order those from your local garden centre, online or look to support a local charity like Let’s grow Preston.

Let’s grow Preston is situated at Ashton Walled Garden, Ashton Park, Pedders Lane, Preston, PR2 1HL. The charity sells small plant plugs that are a good way to start the season. More details about the charity and all that they do can be found on their website here: www.letsgrowpreston.org.

Fellow gardeners, the season’s nearly over and you’ll have your trowel and lawnmower out in no time. Always remember to enjoy your garden, whatever the season.

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