Jobs in the garden

Get your vegetable beds ready by removing all the weeds (roots and all) before the weather warms up.  Digging in compost or spreading well-rotted manure over your flower and vegetable beds and forking it into the ground will help improve the soil for the season to come.

Sprinkle slow-release fertiliser around the base of flowering shrubs and roses and top dress fruit bushes and trees with continuous-release, potassium-rich fertiliser to feed for the season. Also, mulch your fruit trees with manure or compost, but be careful not to mound the mulch up around the trunk.

Build raised beds before the growing season starts – raised beds allow you to make an early start, as the soil warms up more quickly and will also drain better. These and vegetable tables are great alternatives if you have clay soil or limited space.

Prune apple and pear trees whilst they are still dormant – this will be your last chance to do so before next winter.

Cut back wisteria – three buds from the base will encourage flower growth. Also, trim back ivy and other climbers before birds start nesting.

Prune hardy evergreen hedges and deciduous hedges again, before the birds start nesting.

Prune summer-flowering clematis towards the end of February, before the spring growth begins. Cut back shrubs such as cornus and salix down to their bases – these are grown for their colourful winter stems and cutting back will promote new growth. Lightly prune winter flowering shrubs once their displays have finished.

Cut back ornamental grasses before fresh shoots appear – cut them to a few centimetres above the ground.

Shred or chop your woody offcuts before adding them to your compost bin – this will speed up decomposition and provide you with your own compost much quicker.

Prepare your outdoor vegetable seed beds and start sowing some seeds in seed trays. Be sure to keep them out of the frost, either in your greenhouse or on a sunny windowsill.

Prune autumn-fruiting raspberry canes down to the ground, to stimulate new canes that will produce fruit towards the end of the summer.

Prune blackcurrant bushes, redcurrants and gooseberries to maintain a productive shape.

Protect the blossom of outdoor soft fruit trees, such as peach trees, with fleece if frost is in the forecast.

Chit potato tubers and buy onion sets ready for planting in the spring.

Put up bird boxes ready for the nesting season and keep plenty of food available, as the next couple of months can still be very cold.