Sowings can be made of antirrhinum, begonia, dianthus, geranium, gloxinia, lobelia, salpiglossis, statice, sweet pea and verbena. Some perennial plants such as anemone, auricula, aquilegia, hollyhock and kniphofia can also be sown at this time.
Sweet peas that have been raised from autumn sowings can be encouraged to form sideshoots by pinching out the seedling tips.
Cut down flowering perennials to ground level. Any newly planted perennials or winter bedding that have been lifted by frost should be firmed back in.
When leaf shoots begin to show on crocuses, remove the pots from the beds where they had been placed, clean the pots of any old compost and place them in a cold greenhouse for the flowers to develop.
To prolong the flowering period of winter-flowering houseplants avoid draughts and any dry places such as near fires or radiators, by keeping them in good light and a cool position. To prevent disease remove dead leaves from foliage of plant. Remove any dead flowers on cyclamen and azaleas to prolong their flowering period. Daffodils and hyacinths can be force fed to build up bulbs. Prior to bulbs appearing spread mulch over the flower borders and also around shrubs.
Hippeastrum bulbs can be planted in free-draining compost and placed somewhere warm, eg shelf over a radiator, encouraging strong root development along with flowering. Do not leave them standing in water.
Bulbs, corms and tubers that are being kept in store should be checked regularly for signs of deterioration or rot. Any diseased ones should be removed immediately, sprinkling sulphur powder on the others to prevent attack by disease.
Seed potatoes should be stored in trays, in a light, cool, frost-free place to chit ready for planting in March or April. Sowings can still be made of Broad Bean Aquadulce Claudia and The Sutton (under cloches) if conditions are suitable. In the greenhouse, sowings can be made of aubergine and summer maturing cauliflower.
In colder parts of the country, and for exhibition, sowings of onion should be made in the greenhouse, harden off the plants in March prior to planting outdoors in April.
Prepare a deep trench, for where runner beans are to be grown next summer, by digging out and filling with rotted compost from your compost bin, plus during winter you can carry on adding kitchen waste. Then in late spring cover with soil and sow your beans on top.
Continue to plant raspberries and other soft cane fruit, however, if soil conditions are unsuitable when you receive your plants, plant them temporarily in a spare piece of land or pot to prevent the roots drying out, until there is an improvement. Established fruit bushes and trees should be pruned.
Remove any old stems to avoid over-crowding in the middle of whitecurrants and redcurrants. Also the sideshoots should be pruned so there is just one bud.
Dormant clumps of early rhubarb should have buckets or forcing jars placed over them which will encourage stems to form giving an early harvest.