A Yearly Garden Planner

January: Mulch any borderline hardy plants with compost or straw. Harvest leeks, parsnips, cabbage and sprouts as needed and enjoy browsing through the seed catalogues.

February: This month is your last chance to plant bare root trees and shrubs. Don’t forget to ventilate cold frames and greenhouses on mild days.

March: Divide and replant snowdrops. Cut back grasses, late flowering fuchsias and hydrangeas before new growth begins. Plant broad beans and sweet peas under cover.

April: Protect fruit trees from late frosts. Sow winter cabbage and plant early potatoes in containers. Dead head spring flowers.

May: If the ground is warm enough sow early crop carrots, beetroot, cauliflower, peas and lettuce. Earth up potatoes and plant main crop in the ground. Don’t forget that lawns need frequent cutting and the weeds just love this time of year.

June: Plant outdoor beans. Plant up summer pots but protect from cold nights. Undercover sow courgettes, cucumbers, swede and French beans. Harden off outdoor tomato plants.

July: Sow nasturtiums between beans to keep away blackfly. Harvest early sown garlic and onions. Don’t forget to enter produce and flowers (and your baking) in Birstwith Show.

August: Keep harvesting fruit and veg, this encourages more produce. Dead head flowers, trim back herbs to encourage pungent new growth but don’t forget to let some flower. The bees love thyme and chive flowers. Enjoy a glass of wine in the sunshine and admire your handiwork.

September: Cut back early flowering shrubs to generate a second flush of flowers. Dead head roses and dahlias. Harvest apples, pears and damsons.

October: Begin to cut back summer border plants. Plant garlic and onion sets. Plant bulbs and wallflowers for spring colour. Sweep up and compost leaves.

November: Trim back shrubs especially buddleia, lavender and summer climbers to keep them compact. Lift dahlia tubers and store in a dry cool shed. Plant fruit canes and trees.

December: Keep warm by tidying the shed, turning the compost and clearing borders of perennial die back. Pick Brussels sprouts and enjoy your Christmas dinner. Happy gardening.

Maureen Smith

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