In the garden:
Prune roses and wisteria. Roses should be cut back to above a bud, taking out any dead or crossing branches. Cut back summer side growth on wisteria, leaving two or three buds showing.
Bare rooted rose plants can be planted.
If you’re storing dahlia, begonia and canna tubers for planting, give them a regular look over to check for rot and dehydration.
Cut back ornamental grasses to allow the new growth through.
Keep dead heading winter pansies.
You can take old leaves off hellebores. This will allow more space for the spring blooms.
Keep an eye on container plants. Raising them off the ground slightly will protect from frost damage and help them drain better to avoid waterlogging.
With frost snow, and strong winds still very much on the cards over the next couple of months, make sure you’ve got supplies of stakes, ties and plant supports to prevent damage to trees and shrubs.
Fruit and veg:
Leeks and parsnips should be ready to harvest. Parsnips can be stored in the ground until needed and frosts will actually improve their flavour. Earthing up leeks gives them extra protection and they will store for about seven to 10 days once harvested. Only pull leeks if the soil is loose, dig them up if you need to.
Start chitting early potatoes by putting them out in shallow boxes, seed trays or egg boxes, in a bright, cool, frost-free place. The spud should chit (or sprout) at one end, which should be placed pointing upwards. Shoots can be allowed to grow to about an inch in length before planting in March.
You can try to grow potatoes in containers under cover with extra night-time protection for a super early crop. Charlotte is a good variety to try.
Take yellow leaves off brassica plants.
Prune apple and pear trees. Cut out damaged or diseased growth first before cutting back the previous year’s growth on main branches by about a third. Cut back to a bud. Make sure your secateurs and pruning saw are sharp and clean before you start.
Prune blackcurrant, redcurrant and gooseberry bushes. Cut away old or dead growth to allow new growth that will produce fruit next season.
Put cloches over the soil to warm the ground for early pea plants.
You can start to open windows in the greenhouse on sunny days to give some ventilation.
Dig over empty plots that weren’t tackled in the autumn. Introduce organic matter if possible.
It’s a good time to carry out repairs to lawn edges.
Get the pressure washer onto your patios and paths.
Try to keep on top of fallen leaves – they’re wonderful shelters for slugs and snails.
Give the greenhouse a good clean.
Shred your Christmas tree and use the resulting material as a garden mulch.
Don’t forget to feed the birds. Water can be a lifesaver when natural sources are frozen.
Draw up a planting plan for your vegetable plot, remembering to rotate your crops.