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It may be small and forgotten at this time of year, nestled at the bottom of your garden but, in order to keep your shed fit for purpose as a store for garden tools, seeds, spring bulbs and the lawnmower, it is a good idea to give it a maintenance check at least once a year.
Sheds can be prone to damp and wood rot and infestations of insects and small animals, like mice and rats. Once you find rotting wood, you will need to cut out the affected area and replace with new timber. It’s also a good idea to check out the source of rot and deal with that so the problem does not reoccur. You can prevent insect and animal infestations by spraying the interior of your shed with appropriate insecticides.
Grab a ladder and have a look at your roofing felt for any leaks and cracks. This may need replacing and it is quite a straightforward DIY job that most householders can undertake themselves. Make sure you fit the new felt as flat as you can, smoothing out any bumps and ridges before nailing down.
Painting the exterior of your shed will also help it to last longer and will make it look smart. You probably won’t need to do this every year but, if you live in an area with particularly heavy rainfall, then you might want to also consider waterproofing the sides.
Once we turn back the clocks and the evenings start drawing in, we may feel like hibernating in the warmth of our cosy homes and we might think that there is nothing much to do in the garden until the snowdrops and daffodils start to bloom in early Spring. However, there is still plenty to be done if you fancy getting out into the fresh air and “blowing the cobwebs away” on a bright clear November day.
- If the weather is dry, you might get a chance to mow the lawn for the last time this year.
- Plant new deciduous shrubs and hedges. If your garden is particularly cold and exposed, then you will need to protect tender plants. You can still take hardwood cuttings this month.
- You can also take cuttings of roses. Remember to prune the climbing roses.
- Continue planting out perennials and dividing those which are already established in the garden.
- Check stored dahlia tubers for any signs of rotting.
- Rake up piles of dead leaves from the lawn and from your flower beds.
- Finish planting tulip bulbs.
- Make sure ponds are clear of fallen dead leaves as this will cause a build up of silt in the bottom. Remove dead leaves from water lilies.
- Cover and protect late-sown parsley with cloches or polythene tunnels.
Hosts of daffodils not only give inspiration to 19th century poets but also are a sure sign to many that Spring and warmer weather is well on the way. However, in order to have daffodils blooming in your garden in March then you will need to be planting bulbs from now until November.
The traditional larger varieties are perfect for beds or for growing in lawns but miniature varieties look great in rockeries, pots, window boxes or even hanging baskets.
Before you plant your bulbs, fork through your soil to make sure that it is not compacted and heavy. Dig in some well rotted manure or compost and plant bulbs in a sunny or semi-shaded position. Plant bulbs to a depth of about 8-10cm. Daffodils which are planted in containers can be planted much closer together. If you plant bulbs in the lawn, you may need to wait until June or even July before you mow the area where your daffodils grow in order to allow the foliage to die down naturally and build up the bulb for the following Spring.
It is so annoying when cooking a meal to suddenly realise that you have run out of the herbs required for the recipe that you are following. Herbs sold in supermarkets often seem to lack flavour. However, if you grow your own, preferably in pots or containers in a sunny spot outside your back door then you won’t have to go far to obtain fresh herbs for any recipe.
Parsley is incredibly easy to grow and it is hardy enough to continue growing over the Winter months. Whilst the plants are very small, you will have to protect from slugs.
Coriander is also very simple to grow from seed. If seedlings are too crowded then thin them out. Fresh coriander added to a green salad tastes delightful and gives the finishing touch to Indian curries and dahls.
Chives can also be grown in small pots outside. Just snip off lengths as and when you need them for recipes.
It is essential to grow mint in a container as it will swamp everything if left untended in abed or border. Use for making mint sauce or for adding to Greek dishes.
Rosemary is a woody perennial herb with needle like leaves. It likes warm, sunny conditions and needs to dry out between waterings. Grow Rosemary in a pot and you can move it to a more sheltered spot or inside during the Winter.