Cats, garlic and dirty ponds.
• As there is less foliage in the garden there appear to be more cats. Buy a pot of garlic paste and dip six-inch-long sticks into the paste so three inches of paste is on the top of the sticks. Push the sticks into the ground. Cats hate the smell of garlic.
• If you can’t be bothered to clean out the pond (the best time is as soon as all the leaves have fallen) take the water pump out, give it a scrub and keep it in a dry shed all winter. If the pond is cleaned at this time of year, the water is not too cold, there is less shock for the fish and there is no frogspawn to worry about.
•Bear in mind this is the best time to transplant trees and shrubs. You would be surprised at how many letters I receive asking if it’s too late in June! When transplanting plants, choose a nice day. Don’t be pushed into trying to do it when the weather is unsuitable
• If fencing posts have to be renewed, look at Metpost fixings, it makes the job a lot easier. Postmix is easy to use too. Dig the hole, put in the post and pour in the dry mix. Soak the ends of the posts in creosote substitute overnight. There’s nothing wrong with creosote substitute by the way. It’s good as well as cheap.
• Check there are no rotten nuts in the bird feeders. Rotten nuts kill blue tits.
•Please put water out for the birds.
• Plant seeds of early peas in cells in the cold greenhouse, only two pea seeds in each cell, using the 24 cells which fit into a standard seed tray. No heat needed, just make sure they are in a place where mice can't get them. Keep them on the dry side otherwise they will rot. Be careful not to give them too much water.
• Save for a soil warming cable for the greenhouse or buy one as a present for the gardener in your life for Christmas.