Whether it's a bleak December or the more mild weather we are becoming used to, you can still spend useful time in the garden. David Coton suggests the jobs that can occupy the shortening days.
Dan Everton helps you look after your pond during the February with some tips on the precautions you can take to avoid the water freezing over, and advice on keeping fish at this time of the year.
February is more often than not the coldest month of the year in the United Kingdom and you need to make sure you've taken measures to prevent your pond and live stock from suffering.
You should always keep an eye on the water level and if needed top up the pond to ensure that the depth of the pond is the maximum it can be. This helps prevent the pond from freezing solid, as shallow water can easily freeze completely into a block of ice causing fatalities for fish and plant life.
Keep a check on the weather forecast and if your pond is liable to freeze over, you will need to keep a small area free from ice with a pond heater. It will heat up just enough to keep a small gap open in the water allowing vital oxygen to enter and harmful gases to exit the pond.
Pond heaters are available in many sizes from a small 150 watt heater to some larger 2kw heaters, of course the one you choose will depend on the size of your pond and budget you have available.
There will be no point in running a waterfall at this time of year as it will be subject to freezing and that could cause your pond pump to burn out due to back pressure. Your best bet would be to raise the pump off the bottom of the pond if you haven't already and bypass the waterfall but leave your biological filter connected as it needs moving water to survive.
Biological filters will become mechanical filters below 4ºC because the bacteria cannot normally survive below this temperature. Mechanical filtration is better than no filtration of course and the moving water will be oxygenated, keeping the remaining bacteria alive in the pond and helping fish to survive.
At this time of the year your fish will most likely be right at the bottom of the pond in the deepest part hibernating. Leave them well alone and do not feed them as their digestive system will have shut down, any food they eat will break down inside their intestines causing harmful internal bacteria to form.
Towards the end of the month I would advise testing the water using a pond test kit as the rising temperatures will promote the break down of organic matter in the water, this can lead to water quality problems and these will only get worse if not treated early.
February Gardening Jobs by Nathan James Dodd.
Although the days are short and the view from our Garden Centre is frosty and overcast, Andy Taylor suggests various jobs that can be done in the garden during the month of January.
Showcasing young musical talent, this year's Winter Concert at Arthur Terry School was an outstanding success and took place against the stunning backdrop of a Christmas Tree donated by GardenSite.
It was quite an honour for GardenSite to be asked to supply the Christmas Tree to Birmingham New Street Station this year, and to celebrate we're offering a Champagne High Tea to the winners of a seasonal selfie competition.
With Storm Caroline reeking havoc many people are likely to be contacting their insurance companies at some time regarding damage caused to sheds, greenhouses, fences and other garden property. Robert Hall explains how GardenSite.co.uk can help with an independent insurance quote and claim.