Home grown food – Herbs
- Most herbs become dormant in winter, but a few can still be grown to flavour your meals!
- You can force mint into new growth if you pot up a few roots and keep the pot in a warm and light position. No reason to stop having fresh mint tea just because it's winter! It's best to split up older plants and re-pot a young piece from around the edge. Throw the older bits away.
- Supermarket bought basil plants soon struggle in the kitchen, but potted on into fresh compost and put on the brightest windowsill you may find they take on a new lease of life!
- Sow coriander, basil and mustard and cress seeds on a tray lined with kitchen paper roll. Keep it moist at all times, and you'll soon have micro-leaves for your sandwiches or to garnish a plate.
Greenhouse, Polytunnel and Conservatories
- Insulate greenhouses with bubble polythene. A layer of this can lift the temperature by a few critical degrees to keep the frost out and can save up to a third of the fuel costs of a heated greenhouse.
- Open the ventilators a little on mild days to encourage good air circulation and minimise disease spread.
- Wash the glass down with Jeyes Multipurpose Disinfectant and Cleaner to allow as much light in as possible.
- Watch out for any mice that might move inside at this time of year!
Flower Border and Pot Tips
- Move planted pots closer together so that they protect one another in cold weather.
- Remove saucers from underneath pots, and ensure excess water can escape through the drainage holes by standing them on pot feet or tiles.
- Protect tender alpine and succulent plants from the cold and wet with a sheet of glass or a garden cloche. In the wild, many of these plants are protected from the cold and wet by several feet of snow.
- Some plants can be protected in winter by their leaves. Giant rhubarb (Gunnera) can be protected by cutting off its leaves and inverting them onto the growing point.
- If you haven’t done it already, trim the dead flower heads off summer and autumn flowering heathers. A pair of sharp shears will be suitable for this. Trim a little off the shoot tips as this will keep the plants compact.