Time to get cloches and secateurs out of cold storage

Rhubarb forcing pots
Rhubarb forcing pots
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No excuses; just because it’s the middle of winter doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of things to do in the garden. So get out there and do them.

Start by making sure the birds are getting their fair share of food and fresh water – provide the latter on a daily basis.

Then, when they are feeding their beaks, start the real work. Any cheeky weeds that have managed to germinate and show themselves can be removed to the compost bin.

If there’s any digging left to do, and the soil isn’t waterlogged or frozen, make the spade earn its keep. Freshly-cultivated soil can then be warmed up by covering it with cloches.

Autumn-planted trees and shrubs need to be visited to ensure they haven’t been loosened by strong winds – firm them back into the soil and check ties and supports.

Now we’re getting into the swing of things and while the weather gods are smiling, prune wisteria, take hardwood cuttings of shrubs, even go the whole hog and plant a deciduous hedge.

If the weather is just too unpleasant to contemplate, there are a few jobs that can be done in the relative comfort of a greenhouse or potting shed.

Sow some summer bedding and chit early potatoes by putting them in a light, cool, frost-free place at about 50F (10C). Stand them upright and wait for strong, short green shoots to appear.

And if you are in the mood for getting your hands wet and dirty, clean all the dirty plant pots and seed trays which have been left to fester since last spring.

Finally, uncover the lawnmower from its hideaway. Either get the machine serviced by an expert or clean and oil it yourself. Just make sure it’s in fine fettle to tackle the grass this year.