Seasonal Tips to help you make the most of your garden

Winter gardening tips to make your garden wildlife friendly from Roselle Chapman at Wild Oxfordshire

Latest inspirational blog from Belinda at Plot 7 Marsh Lane Hungerford Allotments

 Do you have surplus produce? If so please consider donating some to West Berkshire Foodbank who will pass it on to local families in need.

• River-friendly rain garden ideas to minimise the amount of watering you have to do – from ARK (Action for the River Kennet).

 BBOWT’s Wildlife Gardening podcast has lots of great tips to keep your garden wildlife friendly

• The benefits of growing your own and how to get started


See our updated tips below for beating slugs without pellets.

• If you find a bee swarm in your garden first please double check they are honeybees from this guide and then contact: Newbury Beekeepers, Marc Benson on 07746 374819 in Wash Common, Vale & Downland Beekeepers (for Wantage Area) or Swindon & District Beekeepers – any of these people will be very happy to collect the swarm from you.

• If you find tree saplings in your garden please nurture them to contribute to Newbury Friends of the Earth’s Lockdown Wood

Have you tried making your own fertiliser from comfrey and nettles? See tips below for self-sufficient gardening.

• It is also easy to propogate your own geraniums

• Top tip on germinating beans from my neighbour: fill a jam jar with wet kitchen roll, slide beans between the kitchen roll and the glass. Put the jam jar lid on loosely and watch them germinate.

Top tips for growing your own produce (or try sprouting seeds on your windowsill):


Growing Your Own Veg & Fruit

(If you don’t have a garden,  you can still grow lettuce and sprout seeds on a windowsill for fresh and tasty salads or even grow potatoes indoors)

Advice from Belinda at Hungerford Allotments:

1. Sow a few seeds at a time, not the whole packet.If you’re lucky and the seeds survive you can always sow another lot to achieve some succession harvests. 

2. If you sow peas early protect them from hungry mice. If you sow them late, they might be vulnerable to pea moth larvae 

3. Salad leaf can also be sown inside or under cover. If you sow lettuce seeds, eat the thinnings and you can transplant some of the larger seedlings to produce a full lettuce head in just a few weeks.

4. Warm the soil. If the ground is still cold, germination will be slowed down as a result. Lay plastic or fleece over freshly dug seed beds to warm the soil before sowing seeds.

5. Control the weeds. Sunshine and showers make weeds grow so get on top of them now before they spread and don’t leave pulled weeds in a pile near your freshly dug plots – flowering weeds (e.g. dandelions, groundsel, etc.) can have a final flourish before dying and allow the wind to disperse their seeds.

Composting & Fertilizing

• It is worth growing comfrey to make a liquid fertilizer for your garden. Roughly chop up leaves in a bucket of water and nettle leaves too. Stir occasionally. When the water is dark green and smells like fertilizer then dilute it with more water and gives your crops a good drink. Here is a demonstration by Monty Don.

• reminder to men to pee on their compost heap! According to The Daily Telegraph this is an important chore and one that is physically easier for men and their pee happens to be slightly less acidic than women’s.


Watering takes time and frankly, water is precious so here are tips on how to water your plants for best root growth. To prevent evaporation, we cover soil with gravel, mussel shells and big leaves like rhubarb.

How to Avoid Gardening Injuries

How to garden without injury to keep fit – top tips from Andy at West Berkshire Injury Clinic.


If You Don’t Have Your Own Garden

When we can travel again, there are many allotments across the area which might have free plots. There are also community garden centres that are always grateful for volunteers and provide a social experience where you can learn a lot about gardening.

For inspiration on houseplants listen to Gardening Show with Linda & Jane on 4LEGS Radio: houseplants, terrariums and dragon plants (from 13 mins) – plus weeding, sowing crops under glass like chillis and sweet peas (from 27mins), early flowering plants and assessing the structure of your garden in the winter (from 30 mins).

Growing2Gether volunteers & sign

Growing2gether Community Garden Centre

We are Growing2gether, based at Cottismore Park near Kingsclere – a community food and flower growing and training project that provides opportunities for people from many

Five a Day Market Garden

Five A Day Market Garden is a not for profit community gardening and horticultural therapy project situated in the tranquil hamlet of Englefield, approximately seven

Apple Tree Grafting

Early spring when the tree is still dormant is the best time to graft trees. When the tree wakes up, the sap will hopefully start flowing across the tissues of the graft. It is important to use a very sharp knife so the cut edges are smooth and clean and meld together (it is worth practicing the cuts on spare wood first.) For more information contact Growing Newbury Green. Here is a demonstration from one of the community orchards in Newbury:

Gardening Courses & Clubs

Gardening Courses with Sonia Wright near Marlborough. Something for every garden enthusiast at these one day workshops with award-winning gardener Sonia Wright starting 3 March. Everything provided including home-made lunches. Take home pots of cuttings or seedlings as proof of your new talents!  Gift vouchers available. To find out more, email or call 07917 784602..

Newbury & District Gardeners meet fortnighly during the winter. Lecture series in Newbury open to the public.