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This month is perfect for planting new fruit trees and bushes, but only if the ground is not frosted or too wet. Dig over, and weed, vacant areas of the vegetable plot incorporating well-rotted organic matter.
Take delivery of and plant new fruit trees and bushes. Don't plant if the ground is frosted or too wet.
Dig up chicory roots to be forced. Pot them up after removing foliage and position them in a dark warm place. The tasty chicons will appear in three to six weeks.
Sow over wintering broad beans (mild areas only) outside or under cloches where the soil is well drained, or in pots in an unheated greenhouse in cold districts.
Plant garlic cloves in modules inside a cold frame, or outdoors in mild areas in its final position (free-draining soils and low rainfall areas only).
Thin out congested spurs on restricted fruit trees.
Tie in new tiers of espaliers.
Prune apples, pears, quinces and medlars.
Prune red and white currants and gooseberries.
Protect new sowings and crops still in the ground from mice.
Protect brassicas from pigeons using cloches, netting or fleece.
Remove any yellowed leaves on Brussels sprouts and other brassicas. This will prevent the development of grey mould and brassica downy mildew.
Remove all remaining plant debris from the vegetable plot. Do not compost any diseased material.
Deal with rodent damage on any stored fruits and nuts.
Remove any rotten stored fruit.
Deal with apple and pear canker.
Deal with bitter pit in stored apples.
Parsnips can be left in the ground until needed, or lifted and then buried in a shallow trench for easy access when needed. They taste better when frosted.
Celeriac can also be left in the ground for a bit, but do protect them from the cold with a thick mulch of straw, bracken, or other suitable material.
Stake any Brussels sprouts stalks that look leggy and vulnerable to wind rock.
Clean and store bamboo canes in the shed or other dry place to ensure they're still in good condition for next year.
Dig over, incorporating well-rotted organic matter if available and weed vacant areas of the vegetable plot.
Now is a good time to get ahead and prepare new asparagus beds for planting up in the spring.
Order seed catalogues for next year, if you haven't already done so.
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