what we’re doing when

May

Planting out, paying attention to late frosts

Rearranging the greenhouse to get more in!

Potting on annuals

Sowing biennials for next year, and moving some self-seeded flowers from the veg patch (and leaving some in too – I find flowers round the veg works well for pollinators)

Mulching with compost

Pruning things that get too big

 

April

Sowing crops as below if it’s been a bit colder (trust your senses as well as the seed packet), as well as courgettes and other gourds.

Tying in clematis and honeysuckle

Repotting/planting plants that are too big for their homes

March

Sowing pea, bean and sweetcorn.

Pruning buddleja, laurel, apples and frost damaged plants.

Building new planters.

First lawn cut

February

Structural changes – fencing, paths etc. Having a good old sort out of all the things we’ve hoarded over the year.

Cleaning off algae. We use Algon, which is safe for family, pets and wildlife.

Sowing chilli seeds towards the end of the month indoors.

Clearing debris from ponds.

January

Aerating the lawn

Keeping bird feeders clean and full, as well as making sure there’s water

Starting to chop back dead stuff, but leaving some to protect from frost and provide shelter

Chopping old leaves from around hellebores to expose the flowers

Bringing bulb pots indoors and chitting first early potatotoes

Spreading the compost from the hotbin, as well as leafmould and horse manure

December

Using bubble wrap etc that we’ve stored up to keep the greenhouse plants warm

Pruning sea buckthorn

Maintaining paths etc and having a sort out in the greenhouse

Cleaning

Feeding the birds

Planning for next year!

November

Bringing pots into the greenhouse – dahlias, fuscias and cannas

Putting toys and furniture undercover

Planting the last of the tulip bulbs

Planting violas in gaps

October

Tidying up, but leaving leaf piles for bugs and seed heads for birds and for winter interest.

Bagging up fallen leaves in log sacks to make leaf mound.

Planting tulips, daffodils and alliums – some in the ground and some in pots for indoors.

Harvesting the last of the tomatoes and planting winter greens.

Last cut of the lawn (maybe..) and bagging up the clippings. Some of the clippings are in pots turned on their side for frogs and toads. Aerating and scarifying the lawn, seeding if needed and top-dressing – if not done in Sept.

Planting garlic in modules and broad bean seeds in the veg patch to grow over winter.

Thinning out oxygenating plants from the pond. Leave them on the side for a bit for bugs to return to the water. Tidying up and loosely netting ponds to stop leaves getting in.

Taking stock of what worked this year and what didn’t.

Planting bulbs in pots for spring

September

Digging up and storing potatoes and spreading compost from the heap. The veg patch needs to recoup nutrients, so give it lots to eat – manure, ash, leaf mould, grass clippings (sparingly), torn up comfrey leaves.

Starting to clear some of the dead stuff, but leaving some for the birds and other wildlife.

Renovating and replanting pots with autumn plants, with spring bulbs underneath (daffodils, muscari). Also planting daffodils and tulips where gaps were in the spring.

Scarifying and aerating the lawn, though we don’t use fertiliser etc – grass can look after itself for the most part and I like a mixed lawn with other plants in. It’s better for biodiversity too.

Sowing greens in the greenhouse where tomatoes were.

Dividing overgrown perennials like iris and persicaria.

August

Weeding, deadheading, trimming the hedge and grass cutting, though not too short (leave it if it’s hot). Lavender can be trimmed as it has flowered (collect and dry sprigs for use indoors).

Sowing wildflower seeds on bare patches, planting colchicums, planting kale for over winter and spring. Taking cuttings of fuchsias and rosemary.

Now’s also a good time for taking stock of what worked well and what didn’t.

Look in garden centres and online for reduced perennials ready for next year, it’s much cheaper. Look out for reduced fruit plants and bushes too, they can be planted now for next year.

Keep topping up bird feeders too.

July

Looking after new and container plants, watering where needed, though save as much water as you can if it’s hot. We use nettle and comfrey as feed, made in a cafatiere.

Pruning and deadheading shrubs and perennials that have flowered (poppies, geraniums etc). We leave interesting seed heads (alliums) for interest.

Lifting, drying and storing potatoes and onions, and pinching put the beans and tomatoes when they reach head height. Also pinching out side shoots on tomatoes.

Pruning plum tree