Fruit and Vegetable Gardening Tasks in Winter
Inspect stored fruit and discard any that have rotted. Spray fruit trees with a tar-oil winter wash. Carry out winter pruning of fruit trees and bushes as necessary.
Before the middle of mid winter, feed trees or bushes growing in grass with a high-nitrogen fertilizer. If not already done in early winter, feed apples, pears and other fruit trees, and complete the pruning of newly planted trees. Also cut back newly planted fruit bushes.
Plant rhubarb crowns in well-manured soil. Cover established rhubarb crowns with a generous layer of manure or garden compost to encourage early growth, or cover the crowns with upturned, light-proof containers.
In sheltered, mild areas sow peas and broad beans for an early crop. Shallots can be planted now on well-drained soil, though most gardeners prefer to wait for another month or two.
Prune newly planted fan-trained peaches, nectarines, cherries, plums and damsons, cutting back shoots to 30-45cm (1 – 1-1/2ft). Spray peaches with copper fungicide at bud-swelling stage against peach leaf curl.
Prune established autumn-fruiting varieties of raspberry close to the ground. In the second half of late winter place cloches over strawberry plants which have been planted for early fruit.
Sow early crops of peas and broad beans,if this was not done in mid winter, but wait until early spring in cold, northerly districts unless the seed-bed can be covered with cloches.
If you want to grow early potatoes, buy the tubers as soon as possible. Arrange them in one layer in shallow boxes, with the eyes — embryo shoots — uppermost. Put these in a light, frost-proof place to promote sprouting.
Carrots, such as `Mokum F1’ or `Amsterdam Forcing’, sown in late winter in light, fertile soil in a cold frame, should be ready for harvesting in early summer Keep the frame lights on for a week or two to warm the soil, then sow the seed thinly. Keep the frame closed until the seed has germinated, then give some ventilation.
Plant shallots, drawing a little soil over the sets to anchor them. Dig the site in preparation for planting out asparagus.