January January is a quiet month for gardeners, which makes it an ideal time to plan your gardening tasks and goals for the year. You can also use this time to buy seeds for the year ahead and to gather any tools or equipment you may need. If you feel like some exercise after being stuck inside during the winter, you can turn your compost heap over to help it to decompose evenly. Although you can prepare beds at any time of the year, deep digging is best done now before the end of winter. This will allow the disturbed ground to settle before planting. You can also recycle your Christmas tree by having it shredded, and then spread it on beds or put it on your compost heap. February February is a month of difficult-to-predict-weather, ranging from spring sunshine to late frost. From mid-February you can start to sow greenhouse-grown vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. It is also be a good time to start chitting early potatoes. Place the potatoes into trays and allow them to sprout. You can also now plant garlic, onions and shallots out in light soil. February is the last month until September in which you can trim hedges, so tidy up bushes and hedges now to keep them neat for spring and summer. March March is a busy month in the garden. Weather permitting, you can start to sow the following outside: carrots, parsnips, leeks, beetroot, lettuce, summer cabbage and cauliflower. Watch the weather forecast for frost warnings and cover outdoor seedlings with fabric to protect them during spells of frost. You will also need to protect seedlings from pests such as slugs with a suitable product, e.g. slug pellets, available at Topline stores. Start hoeing your soil regularly to keep weeds under control. It is also a good time to tackle weeds on paving, driveways and footpaths with weed killer. Prune and feed your roses; this will help them grow stronger and produce larger, more plentiful blooms in summer. And finally, it is time to plant your summer flowers and potatoes. April Another exciting spring month in the garden; as sunlight and temperatures increase, plants start to grow stronger and faster. Potatoes can be planted into deep drills. Pests such as greenfly will soon appear as conditions become right for them, so make sure to have a deterrent spray ready to deal with them. The lawn will need regular cutting from now on so it is a good time to service your lawnmower with an oil change. You should also feed your lawn and keep the lawnmower blades on a high setting for the first few cuts to encourage healthy grass growth. If you are planning a new lawn, now or September are the best months for sowing grass seed. And if you want to get a good run at barbeque season, get the BBQ out and give it a clean. Make sure you have the necessary fuel and accessories to get cooking al fresco as soon as summer sets in. You can get weatherproof BBQ covers at Topline stores to protect it during any April showers. May The long evenings are setting in and the summer garden is coming to life. It is time to plant your hanging baskets, containers and bedding. The leaves of roses should be sprayed once each fortnight to protect them against greenfly and blackspot. You will also need to keep a close eye on greenhouse plants for pests. Depending on the weather, you may need to water your garden and the plants in your greenhouse, particularly those which are newly planted. Keep hoeing vegetable beds to tackle weeds. Thin out vegetable seedlings. Feed tomatoes and strawberries with a suitable plant food. Continue to regularly mow your lawn and to apply lawn feed. Any moss or weeds in the lawn should be removed now too. This lawn care should be undertaken regularly until September. June June is one of the best months to get out, relax and just enjoy your garden; however there are a few tasks that should be done this month. The first early potatoes, lettuce and parsley can be harvested now and many fruit bushes will start to bear fruit. You can now sow further vegetables such as carrots, beetroot, beans, and lettuce. Make sure to keep watering flowers and vegetables during the summer. This is best done in the evening time when the sun is low and won’t evaporate the water. Weeds will be growing fast so keep weeding as much as possible. Be on the lookout for pests and diseases, and for plants that may need training or tying to poles for support. Deadhead flowering annuals and perennials to encourage more blooms throughout the summer. July July is an excellent month for bees and as you probably know already, they are essential for beautiful and productive growth in the garden. Planting colourful and fragrant flowers in your garden will attract them. If your compost heap is looking dry, give it a watering. Regularly give fruits, vegetables and flowering plants a liquid feed. Continue to deadhead flowers and weed regularly. Water your hanging baskets and containers daily. August As summer draws to an end, the long evenings of August should be mostly spend relaxing in your garden, reaping the benefits of all your hard work. There are just a few simple maintenance tasks that should be completed to keep things going nicely until next month. Continue deadheading, weeding, and checking for pests. Cut back any dead stalks and branches, and support any which may be going limp by staking. Regularly water fruit, vegetables, containers and baskets if the weather has been dry. Use a fork to loosen onion bulbs in the ground to prepare them for harvesting. September It’s autumn and the weather becoming cooler. You can now harvest your onions. Continue to be on the lookout for pests, e.g. caterpillars and red spider mite. As winds and rain pick up, you will need to stake more of your vegetables and other plants to keep them supported in an upright position. You can now also plant your bulbs for spring, e.g. daffodils, tulips and crocuses. It is best to get them planted before the frost comes. If you are planning a new lawn, now is an excellent time to sow the seed. October October can see the start of light frost spells. Disconnect hoses so the water doesn’t freeze inside them if sudden frosts occur, causing them to split. Lift carrots tender bulbs and store them before the frost. Parsnips however, are said to taste better if they’re exposed to a frost. Cut back perennials. You can continue to plant bulbs for spring. Rake fallen leaves off your grass and throw them in your compost heap/bin. This will help prevent moss growth on your lawn. Scarify your lawn (create small holes with a lawn aerator of garden fork) to aid drainage. November The clocks have gone back, the evenings are shorter, and your workload in the garden is quieting down for winter. Continue to rake up fallen leaves to allow for drainage, prevent moss grown on your lawn, and to keep your garden looking tidy. Tidy up and clean seed trays, planters, greenhouses and gardening tools, using a plant-friendly disinfectant where necessary, before storing them away for the winter. Lift and store any remaining vegetables. Mow the lawn for the last time this year, and clean grass off the lawnmower before putting it away in storage. Think of the birds now it’s winter, and provide suitable food in a feeder along with fresh water. Note, this is the best month of the year to plant trees or hedges in Ireland. Growth is dormant, which is more suitable for planting, and the rainfall will assist the roots in settling. December There’s very little that can be done in the garden in December due to rainfall and sub-zero temperatures. Enjoy the break from your gardening work! You can plant rhubarb now, as it does well in frost. It is also a good time to spread manure on beds, as the freezing and thawing water will help break it up and maximise the benefits.