Brian Kidd's gardening jobs for the weekend

Brian says it's time to hoe through your strawberry plants.
Brian says it's time to hoe through your strawberry plants.

Use these tips to spruce up your garden. 

 Try to hoe through the strawberry plants. The ground is very compacted due to the wet weather but by easing the soil, this will introduce air and the plants will grow earlier which will speed up fruiting.

If you grow ornamental grasses, some of them may still look attractive because but some are definitely past their best and look brown. Cut the brown ones down to the base, leave just an inch of stem and then fork over the soil. A scattering of grit over the surface will make this spot look more attractive.  

Peas sown in insert cells in the cold greenhouse five  weeks ago will be ready to plant outdoors now. Prepare the soil and if possible, cover the ground with some temporary cloches to warm and  dry out the soil. Use hazel spray  to hold the pea foliage together and protect the new plants from pigeons otherwise they will be devoured in just a couple of days.  

If you lifted up a clump of rhubarb roots before Christmas and it is still lying on the soil, place it into a black polythene sack and pop it into the bottom of the airing cupboard or underneath the greenhouse staging. The lovely red stems which emerge will be tasty in about a months time.

Nerine bulbs can be divided now. These spread quite quickly and tend to be ignored but this is the time to divide the clumps and plant them elsewhere in the garden.

If you can retain 50F in your greenhouse, you might like to sow some dwarf French beans and once large enough, plant them into pots. These will crop well in the greenhouse next June.

Have you had your lawn mower serviced? If not, in six weeks you will have to wait ages to get it done. If you can’t be bothered, at least start up the engine to see if is working after all the damp weather. 

Put your bag of seed sowing compost into the greenhouse – it is amazing how it will warm up ready for seed sowing a few days later.

Buy some Copper Mixture fungicide so that you have some ready to prevent potato and tomato blight. In June, when you need it the garden centres have sold it all. 

Buy salad bowl lettuce seeds for sowing indoors in early April.

This is an excellent time to plant new roses, prepare the soil well and if the soil is poor, invest in a bag of shrub planting compost, calculate you will need the equivalent of a gallon bucket of compost for each new rose bush.