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There are jobs to be done in the garden even in the depths of winter.  However, on the dullest, darkest and frostiest days, even the hardiest horticulturist finds it preferable to stay indoors with their hands wrapped around a warm cup of tea.  On these days there is much that can be achieved from the comfort of your favourite armchair.


It is a great time to plan any changes you want to make to the garden in the coming year.  Perhaps you wish to design or redesign parts of the garden.  It is a good idea to make a list of materials and plants you require for your design.


January and February are also an ideal time to browse the many online seed and young plant catalogues and choose from the mouth watering array available.  You may think it is crazy to be thinking about the recipe of plants you need for your summer bedding and container displays.  However, now is the perfect moment to order young plants for a delayed delivery when conditions are more favourable.  Ordering now ensures that the plants can be grown to order for you. You will therefore receive the pick of the crop as well as the widest choice of varieties.  Vegetable plants can also be ordered in a similar manner.  Seed potatoes, onion sets and asparagus crowns etc. can be ordered for later planting, as well as fruit trees and plants.


Winter is also the ideal time to order your summer bulbs from the retail garden websites.  It may seem an age away that your dahlias, lilies, gladioli, begonias etc. will be flowering, but the imminent spring months are when they should be planted.


Plan and order the seeds you require both for the vegetable garden and your ornamental displays.  The gardening websites are full of a plethora of exciting new varieties as well as the tried and tested stalwarts.  Sort existing and newly purchased seeds into some kind of index by the months they need to be sown.  A little preparation now can make life a whole lot easier in the coming months.


Plants, bulbs and seeds are not the only items you will need for the garden.  Plan and order the sundries you will need.  Apart from compost, most garden items have a fairly long shelf life.  You may wish to order fertilisers, tools, pots, seed trays, labels, ties and plant supports to name but a few items.

Online suppliers for seeds, plants and sundries are available from our Online Supplier Directory.


Plan the year’s crop rotation for  your vegetable garden.  This is vital so as not to deplete the soil of its nutrients, to lessen the build up of pests and to improve soil structure.  Putting any old crop on any old plot is a certain method for failure.


So you can assure your critics that a day or so spent by the fireside is far from wasted time, but rather an essential part of the gardening year.

Mark Snelling.

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