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Garden Ideas for January


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Looking for ideas for what to do in the garden in February? Well, look no further as we have compiled a list of garden jobs to keep you busy throughout the month.

How to Protect Containers


While the tops of container plants may be quite hardy the roots are vulnerable to frost. Here are some easy steps you can take to protect them in cold weather.

The difficulty rating for this garden job is 1 out of 5 and you will need: Bubble-wrap, String, Newspaper, Plastic-bag

Step One:

Tie a double layer of bubble-wrap polythene around the pot to give a layer of insulation against several degrees of frost.

Step 1 of 4How to Protect Containers

Step Two:

For more protection stand the container in a plastic bag...

Step 2 of 4How to Protect Containers

Step Three:

...and fill with crumpled newspaper to create a thick insulating layer...

Step 3 of 4How to Protect Containers

Step Four:

...tie the top loosely with string or a platic tie. Keep the plastic off the leaves as it can freeze to them causing cell damage. Never cover the plant with plastic.

Step 4 of 4How to Protect Containers

How to Make a Bird Feeder


In the winter months the birds in your garden can find it difficult to find enough food. You can help them by putting out a bird feeder and if you make it yourself it won't even cost you anything.

The difficulty rating for this garden job is 2 out of 5 and you will need: Plastic bottle, Scissors, Marker Pen, Thin Cane, Wire, Gravel, Bird Seed

Step One:

Take a standard 2L drink bottle and mark out and cut circular holes about a third of the way up from the base. Make sure there are no sharp edges.

Step 1 of 4How to Make a Bird Feeder

Step Two:

Just below the holes make two small holes and push a cane through the bottle to act as a perch.

Step 2 of 4How to Make a Bird Feeder

Step Three:

Feed a wire through the screw cap so that you can hang the feeder in your garden.

Step 3 of 4How to Make a Bird Feeder

Step Four:

To give the feeder some stability you can put gravel in the base. Finally, put food up to the level of the circular holes and hang in your garden.

Step 4 of 4How to Make a Bird Feeder

How to pH Test Soil


It is important to know the pH of your soil before you plant. Some plants prefer more acidic soil (lower pH) and some plants prefer alkaline (higher pH). Home testing kits are readily available and are easy to use.

The difficulty rating for this garden job is 2 out of 5 and you will need: pH Testing Kit

Step One:

Take a sample of soil from 10cm below ground level in the area you wish to plant and place it, with the indicator chemical, in the testing tube.

Step 1 of 4How to pH Test Soil

Step Two:

Add the required amount of de-ionised water to the tube to make a solution.

Step 2 of 4How to pH Test Soil

Step Three:

Seal the top of the tube and shake the contents well for several minutes. Then stand upright and allow the mixture to settle for at least 30 minutes.

Step 3 of 4How to pH Test Soil

Step Four:

Once the mixture has settled check the colour against the pH chart. The red end of the spectrum is acidic, green is neutral and blue to purple is alkaline.

Step 4 of 4How to pH Test Soil

How to: Maintenance Pruning


On ornamental plants (not fruit) there are a few basic reasons why you should prune, best remembered as the 4 Ds: Dead, Dying, Damaged and Diseased. Next, remove crossing or rubbing branches, any that have reverted to green and for shape.

The difficulty rating for this garden job is 2 out of 5 and you will need: Secateurs, pruning saw

Step One:

Dead wood is easiest to see and remove in summer. Cut back to healthy, pale-coloured wood.

Step 1 of 4How to: Maintenance Pruning

Step Two:

Die-back is common after early pruning where a rogue frost can catch you out. Cut back to just above a healthy bud.

Step 2 of 4How to: Maintenance Pruning

Step Three:

Larger dead stems should be removed with a pruning saw, working very carefully so you do not damage nearby shoots.

Step 3 of 4How to: Maintenance Pruning

Step Four:

Green shoots on a variegated plant should be removed, as they contain more chlorophyll and are stronger. If left, they will take over and you will lose the variegation.

Step 4 of 4How to: Maintenance Pruning

We hope these projects have given you a few ideas and a bit of inspiration for what to do in your garden this month.

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