Body, soul and gardening - New Year's resolutions

There’s nothing like making plans to give you a sense of purpose and positivity.  So, put the kettle on and start a list of your good gardening intentions for the New Year.  Here are a few ideas:

Get those plants in the ground.  Most of us have plants hanging around in pots.  Pop them in the ground to get roots established ready for spring, rather than becoming cold and soggy.  And any bulbs still lurking in the shed are better off planted too!

Sort out your seeds.  Seeds are viable for about three years, so check expiry dates and remove any that haven’t got a hope of growing!  You could double check by putting a few in water: if they haven’t sunk after 20 minutes, they’re probably duds.  Always store seeds in a cool, dry place.

Go peat-free.  Using peat-free composts contributes to the work to avoid further damage to peat bogs, an important carbon store and wildlife habitat.  They’re nice to handle and hold water well too.  Peat-free composts have come a long way in recent years.  Melcourt’s range is approved by the Royal Horticultural Society while Dalefoot compost made from sheep’s wool and bracken has a lot of high profile fans and is approved by the Soil Association for organic growing.  Westland is continually improving its peat-free products too.

Look after your tools.  Winter is the time to clean tools.  Start with secateurs, getting rid of the rust with wet and dry sandpaper and a wipe of oil like WD-40 and sharpen them with a whet or dry stone.

Plant a fruit bush.  Currant and gooseberry plants are a fab low maintenance way of growing more summer fruit.  Plant or propagate more now, ready for those lovely summer puddings.

Plot any changes.  With the wintry bones of your garden on display, plan structural changes such as a hedge or altering the shape of a bed.  And resolve to finally move or give away plants that are in the wrong place – then you can start planing what to do with your lovely new space.