I don’t have time to grow veg myself, but if you do, or want to start, now is the time to ‘chit’ seed potatoes. Chitting means getting the eyes in the potatoes to sprout and its easiest done in old egg boxes, placed eye or sprouting side up in a cool, light frost-free place for six weeks or so before planting outside. Choose ones the size of a hen’s egg, or cut larger tubers to fit. Potatoes can be planted directly into the ground, but this simple procedure really does increase yield. My partner in crime Julia’s conservatory is currently so crammed with chitting potatoes there’s hardly any room to sit in it!
You don’t need lots of space and you can even grow potatoes in a tub, or barrel and they’re great for introducing children to the simple joy of growing your own food.
While the grass is dormant, take your lawn mower for a service so it will be in fine fettle come spring. It’s also a great time to oil your secateurs and sharpen blades on shears. There’s nothing worse (and a chronic waste of effort) than hacking away at something with a blunt instrument – sounds a bit like a murder plot!
I do adore roses and now is the time to plant them. Make sure the hole is large enough for the roots to spread, and use a cane to check that the base of the plant is at soil level. Incorporate plenty of well-rotted manure and garden compost, and add some slow-release fertilizer such as blood, fish and bone. Fill in the hole, treading around the plant to firm it in and topping up the soil level as necessary.
You can find lots of useful information on line about growing roses and all sorts of other really useful gardening advice. Here’s a list of ones I use: