Easy ways to reduce lawn maintenance and getting the greenhouse ready for spring sowing and potting with Martin Fish - garden writer, broadcaster and advisor.
Lawn edges are always a concern for gardeners that like to keep their grass in trim.
In fact even if a lawn is well manicured, its general appearance will be spoiled if the edges are untidy and not neatly cut.
Crispy, neat edges really do make a lawn look much better, but this involves regular maintenance.
Ideally this means trimming the edges with long-handled shears or a strimmer weekly or every other week when the grass is actively growing.
I also like to cut around my lawn edges at the start of the season using a half moon edging iron to get a flat edge to make trimming easier through the summer.
If time is limited there are other methods to help keep your lawn looking good and they will also cut down maintenance in the long run.
An easy method is to install a tough plastic strip along the edge that is partially buried in the soil.
This will form a straight, vertical edge to the lawn and prevent the edge from crumbling if walked on.
The edge is positioned just below the surface of the grass to prevent it from being damaged by the mower.
Although the edging strip will contain the lawn, it will still be necessary to trim grass growing above and out from the edging strip, but it will certainly make the job much easier.
Alternatively you can install a permanent mowing strip that does away with trimming the lawn edges altogether.
This method involves a little more work to install, but when finished it not only looks attractive, it will greatly cut down on weekly trimming.
Narrow paving slabs can be used to crate the strip by laying them around the edge of the lawn, or you can adopt for a slightly more decorative edge by using bricks.
Again they should be bedded onto a sand and cement bed so that the bricks are just below the grass level and for added effect bricks can be laid at an angle for a full edging.
Once finished the edge will last for many years and the mower will simple run along the top of the bricks for a neat finish.
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If you grow your own plants in a greenhouse, now is the time to make sure everything is ready for spring sowing and planting.
Before re-using plant pots and seed trays they should be washed thoroughly in warm soapy water to remove algae, fungal spores and old compost.
You could even add a drop of disinfectant to make sure they are spotlessly clean.
This way your seedlings and young plants will get off to a clean start and the risk of diseases will be greatly reduced.
It is also worth bringing a bag of compost into the greenhouse ready for when you start sowing so that it has time to warm up a little.
When ground conditions allow, dig or fork over vegetable plots and if you want to improve the soil work in some well rotted manure or garden compost. Remember though, not to manure any areas where you are planning to grow carrots or parsnips as the manure can make the roots fork
Check garden ponds and water features and remove any old leaves or rubbish that has blown in. If the pump is still running during mild weather, check and clean the filter.