Look ahead to summer berry crops.
Bundles of strawberry plants should be in the garden centre now (or soon) and that’s usually the cheapest way to get a few plants at once to establish a new strawberry patch. Plant them now and they should be flowering at the start of spring, and fruiting six to eight weeks later. Give strawberries full sun and freedraining soil – in wet soils the crowns can rot out, plus it makes the developing fruit more prone to botrytis and mould.
If you need to prune citrus, do it now.
In warmer weather, female lemon tree borer ( Oemona hirta) will sniff out the sap of any recently cut citrus from miles away as she looks for somewhere to lay her eggs. The larvae then tunnel into the branches and cause untold damage – a bad infestation can destroy a whole tree. Citrus shouldn’t need a lot of pruning, but if you want to cut branches for shape, or to make harvest easier, only ever do so in winter. Jo McCarroll