Job of the week: Clean and sharpen tools
The winter pruning season is almost upon us so this is a good time to pay some attention to your cutting tools, including secateurs, loppers, shears and even hoes. Start by cleaning off any crusted sap and dirt with wire wool, then sharpen the blade with a sharpening stone, making sure you sharpen on the bevelled edge. Finish with a few drops of lubricating oil on any moving parts and your tools will be ready to use and give many more years service.
Cover borderline-hardy dahlias in a thick mulch of straw for winter protection or bring indoors to a frost-free shed or garage.
Cover hellebores with cloches for earlier New Year flowers
Finish planting spring bulbs in containers and flower borders for next year’s display
• Fruit & veg:
Check stored fruit regularly for signs of over-ripeness and rot
Remove and clean stakes and canes from spent summer crops
Start to prune apple and pear trees
Sow sweet peas under cover in pots or root trainer modules
Check under the leaves of citrus for scale insects and wipe them off on sight
Clear the last of the summer’s spent crops and empty out grow bags
• Around the garden:
Remove dead, diseased and damaged branches from trees and shrubs
Wrap containers with bubblewrap against frost damage
Pick fallen leaves out of the crowns of plants to prevent rotting, especially alpines