Alan Titchmarsh shares tips for preparing your garden

Winter can be a bleak time of year if you’re a gardener as the weather remains cold and rainy. If you’re looking for things to do in the garden during the winter months, Alan has shared his top tips for tidying and clearing the garden ready for spring. Alan suggested starting with your clay pots which are likely to have snails hibernating in them.

However, he warned gardeners that while they may look happy enough hibernating in your pots, they shouldn’t be left in there.

He explained: “But you don’t want to leave them, because come this spring, they’ll start munching everything.

“What you do is entirely up to you.

“Me, I’ve never been able to crunch a snail underfoot.”

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Alan simply threw the snails over the hedge to stop them coming back into his garden.

He added: “And then I take my pots away and wash them.”

Although dirty pots may not sound particularly concerning, they can actually carry disease.

Alan suggested washing clay pots with warm soapy water and plastic pots with a kitchen scrubber.

The gardening expert said it may also be a good idea to soak clay pots for an hour or so before cleaning them.

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He added: “But if you really want to be posh and clever, then these proper pot washing brushes are wonderful and you can use them outside as well as in.

“And again, when you’ve got it all off, do that trick of standing them and letting them drain.”

Alan also said if you’re using a crock in a pot, this needs to be washed too.

The gardening expert’s next tip is to cover the soul with thick black polythene to warm it up.

This will warm up the soil enough to enable you to sow seeds earlier as you will be keeping a lot of the rain off.

Alan added: “So it’s not quite so wet, which means it’s not quite so cold.

“And the blackness of this absorbs heat and so prepares that soil just that little bit earlier.

“It means you can get out there and get sowing quicker than you could on bare soil.”

Making sure your gardening tools are sharp and ready-to-use is another thing gardeners could do in the winter months.

Alan said: “Things like hoes need to be sharpened. All your tools need to be cleaned of mud.

“And that way you can make sure that when you come to use them, if they’re oiled and ready and hanging on the wall, as soon as you take them off and get on the soil, they’re ready to use; and you can probably also steal a march on the pheasants.”

Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh will air on Sunday at 10am on ITV.

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