1. Deal with any weeds that you see appearing in garden beds before they get out of hand. Prise them up with long-handled tools and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Keep a look out as the season goes on.
© RHS/John Trenholm
2. Prune blueberry bushes. Cut back weak growth to a strong young shoot. Take off any low or straggly growth at ground level, and remove dead or damaged branches. The general aim is to create a well-shaped, open-centred bush. Achieve that and you will maximise your crop of these ‘super-fruits’.
3. Plant early potatoes that you have had chitting. It’s best to rub off all but the biggest two or three shoots. Plant with the shoots facing upwards. Leave sufficient room between the rows of potatoes and remember that they’ll need earthing up later.
4. Lift and divide overgrown clumps of perennials. If they are more than a few years old, discard the old core of the clump, which will have little life left in it, and only use the edges for replanting. You will often be able to get three- to five-new plants from one veteran old clump.
5. If you feel it is needed, mow the lawn on dry days only. You might need to raise the lawnmower blades especially if the grass is still a bit damp. Make sure you spend time on cleaning the machine afterwards – you don’t want any peculiar problems later.
6. Open the greenhouse or conservatory doors and vents on warm days. While you’re at it, give it a good spring clean, whisking out all the spider’s webs, dead woodlice, perished pieces of plastic and other rubbish that tends to accumulate over winter.
7. Put supports in place for tall perennials and vegetables, such as peas. It might seem a bit early, but if you do this now you’ll avoid treading on new growth.
8. Apply a mulch around fruit trees, nuts, and bushes as long as the ground isn’t frozen. Any sort of organic matter should be suitable, such as garden compost, or composted stable manure. However, don’t mulch right up to the stems of the plants – they might get burnt.