We've teamed up with Nick and Rich of the Two Thirsty Gardeners to bring you the top 10 gardening tasks to help your garden blossom ready for spring.
1. Get those indoor seeds sown pronto to steal a march on the growing season ahead. You don't need a fancy propagator or greenhouse, just cover a plant pot with a clear polythene bag and place the pot on a well-lit windowsill.
2. On your marks, get set, MULCH! Wait for a damp day when the soil is moist and put down a thick layer of leaf mould or compost at the base of any fruit trees and bushes. This will suppress pesky weeds and keep your plants nourished.
3. Inspect your apple trees for winter damage. Remove any branches that have been ravaged by wind or are showing signs of scab and slacken over-tight tree ties to ensure there is plenty of growing space for the branches and trunk.
4. Keep an eye out for weeds and deal with them accordingly. The sooner you tackle them, the better. No need for chemicals – all you need is a sharp trowel and perseverance. But...
5. See those emerging nettles? Don’t be in a hurry to tug them up – they will provide a haven for insect life, and the birds that visit your garden will be grateful of the easy, wriggling banquet. More importantly, nettle beer is easy to make and tastes GREAT!
6. Keep slugs at bay to protect young shoots. We wouldn’t endorse killing them – lob them over the hedge if at all possible – but if you do feel the need, bury a jam jar with beer into your soil. The poor slugs will flock to the beer and drown, but at least they’ll drown happy.
7. Think about mowing the lawn. Wait for a dry day, drag the mower from the depths of your shed and get to work on your winter-ravished, tatty patch. Scarify first with a rake to remove dead thatch, and it’s worth going over your lawn with a garden fork to aerate the turf.
8. Don your waders and clean out your pond. Take the plunge early spring before the frogs and toads move in to spawn.
9. Clean algae covered greenhouse panes to provide maximum sunlight for emerging plants. No fancy cleaning products are needed – just use damp, scrunched up newspaper and a spot of elbow grease.
10. Some of the tools in your shed may be looking a little sorry for themselves after a winter of neglect. Show them love (and prepare them for action) by cleaning cutting blades, lubricating any moving parts and rubbing down wooden handles with linseed oil.