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Fruit and veg

  • Finish winter-pruning fruit trees and soft fruits, including apples, autumn raspberries and blackcurrants
  • Chit first-early potato tubers, such as 'Foremost', by standing them in trays in a light, frost-free place
  • Prepare veg beds for sowing by weeding thoroughly, then cover with a thick layer of garden compost
  • Feed fruit trees and bushes by sprinkling sulphate of potash fertiliser around the base to encourage fruiting
  • Sow mustard and cress in a small seed tray on a warm windowsill for pickings in just a few weeks
  • Put cloches or fleece over strawberry plants to start them into growth and encourage an early crop
  • Hunt out overwintering snails huddled in empty pots and hidden corners, to reduce populations. Find out more about how to deter slugs and snails from your garden
  • Plant rhubarb into enriched soil, or lift and divide established clumps
  • Check if old seed packets are worth keeping by sowing a few seeds on damp kitchen paper, to see if they germinate
  • Start planning for your seed sowing year
  • Protect the blossom of outdoor peaches, nectarines and apricots with fleece, if frost is forecast
  • Plant bare-root fruit bushes, trees and canes, as long as the ground isn't frozen
  • Inspect Mediterranean herbs for metallic green rosemary beetles if they start to look nibbled and tatty


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House plants

  • Reduce watering for almost all house plants apart from Christmas cactus and poinsettia which will need watering whenever soil feels dry
  • Maximise the amount of light your house plants receive in darker months by moving to brighter spots, or choose house plants that will grow in shadier spots
  • Some house plants, like snake plants, are particularly prone to collecting dust on their leaves. So be sure to give these a wipe regularly
  • Try and keep house plants away from temperature fluctuations caused by draughts or central heating
  • Check your house plants for pests like aphids, scale insect, thrips and mealybugs
For more house plant advice and inspiration visit our Growing and caring for house plants page

Garden maintenance

  • Install a nest box with a camera, so you can watch birds raising their broods in spring
  • If snow falls, knock it off evergreen shrubs, hedges and conifers to prevent branches snapping under the weight
  • Buy or make a cold frame to use when hardening off young plants in spring
  • Check fleece or other insulation is still in place around pots and borderline-tender plants
  • Firm back down any plants that have been lifted by frost or loosened by wind-rock
  • Make fat ball feeders and hang them among roses to attract blue tits, which will also forage for overwintering pests
  • Improve the soil by spreading garden compost or well-rotted manure over beds and forking it
  • Spread a layer of well-rotted manure around roses and shrubs
  • Sort out and clean up canes, plant supports and cloches, ready for use in spring
  • Prune hybrid tea and floribunda roses, before growth restarts
  • Clear away old plant debris from pond margins and scoop out any leaves that have fallen into the water
  • Remove pond netting installed in autumn to catch falling leaves
  • Clean and service mowers and garden power tools, so they're in good order for spring
  • Coppice hazel, cutting to the base, to encourage a flush of new stems that you can use for plant supports in a few years

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Raspberry ‘Autumn Bliss’ is one of the best and most reliable autumn fruiting varieties, producing a heavy crop of large, attractive red berries from late August until mid-October. Their sturdy canes make them perfect for growing in smaller gardens and containers, as they don’t require support for their stems.

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A wonderful waft of beautiful pink blossom erupts in April and May, before making way for the impressive blush-red fruits. Sweeter than many other varieties, ‘Pink Delicious’ boast a crisp, yet tangy, taste to be incredibly refreshing on the palate.

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