GARDENING: Jobs for the week – check for storm damage and look out for bargains

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DON’T forget to check out garden centre and nursery sales – you might get a bargain!

•We’ve been battered by a succession of autumn and winter storms, so check arches, fence posts and panels are secure. Make sure the stakes on young trees are sound, and that climbing plants are securely fastened. Firm back newly-planted trees and shrubs if they have been lifted by winds.

•Sow Begonia, Lobelia, Salvia, Pelargonium and sweet peas in a heated propagator.

•Sweet peas sown in autumn can be potted on. Place them on a sunny windowsill, or on a high shelf in the greenhouse in as light a situation as possible to prevent them getting leggy. Watch out for aphid attack.

•This is the last chance to sow seeds that need frost to germinate (native trees, shrubs and alpine plants, such as Sorbus, Cotoneaster and Pernettya).

•Root cuttings can be taken now. Papaver (perennial poppies), Verbascum (mullein), Acanthus and Phlox are suitable.

•Lift containers outside on to old bricks, to stop them sitting in the wet.

•Order summer flowering bulbs now, such as gladioli, dahlias and begonias from mail-order specialists if you want unusual varieties, or pop along to your nearest garden centre for more popular choices.

•Watch out for overwintering pests in the greenhouse/conservatory. Nooks and crannies, and the bark of woody plants and vines, are prime hiding places.

•Clean old pots and seed trays, so that they are ready for sowing and planting.

•Monitor the water level of ponds – frosts can damage liners and concrete. If the water level drops, it may have a leak. Keep it topped up until repairs can be carried out in spring. Rake out fallen leaves or shake off those that have gathered on netting.

• FOR more on these topics, plus cook what you grow, traditional recipes, North East information, environmental news and more, visit www.mandycanudigit.co.uk.

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