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Fruit and veg

  • Place straw around the base of parsnips to prevent the soil freezing, which can make harvesting difficult
  • Plant thornless blackberries, such as 'Loch Ness', for easy pickings of large, sweet, juicy fruits
  • Winter prune large fruit trees to control their shape and size, and to increase their productivity
  • Plant fruit trees trained as cordons, fans or espaliers to make good use of limited space
  • Start to plan next year's crops and order seeds
  • Tidy up raspberry and blackberry beds – weed and mulch with compost, then tie new stems to support wires
  • Lift and divide large clumps of rhubarb, replanting the outer sections into soil enriched with well-rotted manure
  • Keep kale, winter cabbages and other brassicas covered with netting to protect them from hungry pigeons
  • Finish clearing old crops and debris from the veg plot, but only compost healthy material 
  • Remove yellowed leaves on brassicas, so fungal diseases such as grey mould and downy mildew don't take hold
  • Make sure Brussels sprouts don't topple over in strong winds - tie to a cane for support and earth up the stems
  • Prune grapevines, cutting back side-branches to one or two buds from the main stem

On the forum: which fruit and veg varieties are you growing?


  • Pot up a clump of rhubarb and place under a large bin to force an early crop of sweet stems
  • Pick faded leaves and dead flowers regularly from plants overwintering in the greenhouse, such as pelargoniums
  • Pinch out the tips of autumn-sown sweet peas to encourage bushier growth
  • Deadhead indoor azaleas, water regularly and provide cool conditions, away from radiators, to prolong flowering
  • Monitor greenhouse temperatures with a max-min thermometer to ensure heaters are working efficiently
  • Bring hyacinths growing in the greenhouse into your home to flower, placing in a cool, bright spot 
  • Water plants sparingly to keep the greenhouse as dry as possible, which should reduce outbreaks of disease
  • Prune greenhouse grapevines while dormant
  • Move houseplants onto a sunny windowsill over the winter, to get as much light as possible during the shorter days 
  • Water florists' cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum) from below, and deadhead regularly to encourage more blooms
  • Check overwintering plants in the greenhouse for red spider mite and other pests, and treat if necessary
  • Sow cacti seeds into moist, loam-based compost and place in a propagator or on a warm windowsill
  • Plant hippeastrum (amaryllis) bulbs for spectacular flowers in about eight weeks

On the forum: find out more about growing plants indoors


Garden maintenance

  • Put out fresh water for birds every day during frosty weather
  • Bring all watering equipment indoors, including hoses and sprinklers, so they don't freeze and split 
  • Scoop fallen leaves and debris from ponds, leave on the side so pondlife can escape, then add to the compost bin
  • Stand your Christmas tree in a bucket of water in a sheltered spot outdoors until it's time to bring it indoors
  • Clear out your shed, and organise and clean your tools
  • Work off Christmas excesses by digging over bare areas of ground, incorporating garden compost
  • Check tree ties and stakes are firm enough to stand up to winter storms
  • Prune blackcurrants once dormant, removing about a quarter of the old stems
  • Order well-rotted manure or mushroom compost to dig in over winter or spread over bare soil for worms to take down
  • Order summer-flowering bulbs such as lilies and gladioli

On the forum: join in the discussion, share your wisdom and ask for help

Visit BBC Gardeners' World Autumn Fair, at Audley End House & Gardens, Friday 2 to Sunday 4 September

£29.98 £44.97 For three 3L pots

RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year in 2011, this beautiful shrub blooms for months on end, with white flowers which have striking blue backs. Best suited to beds and borders, in full sun or partial shade.

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£14.99 £24.99 Six jumbo plug plants

Named Plant of the Century at the 100th RHS Chelsea Flower Show, this reliable and easy to grow perennial flowers prolifically from June to October with blue, saucer-shaped blooms.

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