In the garden:
Bare root rose plants can be planted any time from now until March. Dig some organic matter in before you plant if you can and use a fertiliser as a top dressing. Give the roots plenty of room with a hole about twice the width of the roots. Tease the roots out if they’re compacted. Plant the rose with any graft at or just above the soil.
Lift dahlia tubers and begonia and gladiolus corms and store in a dry place. Trim the foliage away and handle the tubers carefully – damage can let rot in. Brush soil off gently before drying the tubers for a few weeks and storing in dry soil, compost or sand in a frost-free, dry shed or garage. Gladiolus corms can be treated like bulbs. Store them in paper bags or nets after drying for around a day.
You can plant spring bedding now.
Fruit and veg:
After the first frosts you can lift parsnips as the roots will be sweet.
Spread fresh manure on your vegetable beds. It’ll rot down over the winter, adding nutrients to the soil and helping to keep weeds down.
Tidy up strawberry plants, removing any dead leaves and runners.
You can protect new shoots on peach trees from the rain with polythene to about a height of 1 ft. These shoots can suffer from infection if they get wet. Keep the barrier in place until next spring is well under way.
Mature rhubarb plants can be divided to produce new plants. This should be done about every five years in any case to stop crowns getting overcrowded or weak. Chop the rhizome into sections with a spade, making sure each has at least one growing point. Replant as quickly as you can, though the sections can be stored in damp sacking if necessary.
Perennial vegetables like rhubarb and asparagus can be planted now. Both grow from crowns.
You can plant herbs on the windowsill for fresh flavours throughout the winter.
If you have a heated greenhouse you can enjoy fresh salads by planting now. Look for winter varieties.
With most of the plot dormant, you can do some infrastructure work on your vegetable gardens. Put a plank down to walk along to avoid compacting the soil. Build raised beds using cheap timber.
Wash and disinfect pots that are now empty and that you want to use again.
Insulate your outside taps to keep them safe from frost damage.
The birds will be feeling the change in the weather too. If you haven’t started feeding them yet, now’s the time to fill up your feeders. Remember that planting trees and shrubs to provide a good supply of berries in winter will bring the birds flocking to your garden.
If you want to enjoy holly berries at Christmas, you might want to grab a couple of branches and keep them in water away from hungry beaks.
Wrap delicate pots in bubble wrap to protect from frost damage.