Buy & start chitting seed potatoes in a bright, frost-free place to encourage them to produce shoots.

Use a soil thermometer to check soil temperature. Seeds are unlikely to germinate until soil reaches 7-10°c and will only rot or get eaten by birds or vermin.

Buy shallots, onion sets, garlic, asparagus & rhubarb, for planting later this month or next.

Put up nest boxes – there are different designs for the type of bird you want to attract or multi nest boxes which will give you three options.

Buy dahlia tubers, gladioli, lilies, begonias, nerines & other bulbs for stunning displays throughout the summer. Store them in a frost-free place until required.

Use primroses in containers and to fill and brighten up gaps in the garden.

Many summer flowering seeds can be planted indoors or in a heated propagator now.

Use fleece and fleece bags to protect tender plants from frosts especially as new shoots begin to appear.

Sprinkle sulphate of potash around the base of fruit trees, bushes and cane fruits to aid production of flowers and fruits.

Apply winter wash to conifer hedges that suffered from red spider mite last season, it will smother dormant pests & help reduce the number of pests that re-emerge.

Plant bare root hedging as soon as soil warms up.