Here is the fifth set of my Garden notes..for the other sets click 'Label below and scroll down.
Remove any mummified fruit left hanging on trees & check that greasebands are still sticky
Mulch roses after leaf fall & before new growth starts as this prevent reinfection with blackspot
Continue to rake up any leaves you find to make leafmould - there are few better soil conditioners & it is an excellent alternative to peat in potting & sowing composts
It is not too late to plant bare-rooted trees & shrubs. It is better now than in the new year - also if trees or shrubs need moving do it now taking as much soil on the root as possible then prune hard & stake after replanting
Check with a soil testing kit if the soil pH requires dolomite lime - allow rain to take it in but avoid land required for potatoes as lime makes for scabby skins
Remove the old stumps after winter greens are harvested
Rhubarb, chicory & seakale may be forced where heat is available & light excluded
Clear out and scrub down greenhouse inside & out - make any necessary repairs & put up wire for climbing plants next year
Prune apple/pear trees, gooseberries & red/white currants - avoid frosty weather
Bonfire woody waste, potato & tomato haulms & any diseased material in a slow smother fire covered with clods of earth - check for hibernating hedgehogs before lighting it - the ash & burnt soil can be sieved when cool & stored for use in sowing composts next spring (is this the best way to deal with diseased material?)
Choose violas rather than pansies as bumblebees cannot land on the floppy petals of the pansies for nectar
Recipe - not for vegetarians - sent in by a local blog reader
Photo: snail - there was time when I could happily squash these but less and less so. Not sure eating is the answer. What do others suggest?
Gather snails. Keep them in a bucket for 3 to 5 days, feeding them on past-it salad leaves or organic carrot peelings. Their shit goes dark green or bright orange accordingly, i.e. previous (possibly poisonous) gut contents have been replaced.
Clean out the bucket with fresh water if it all gets too foul, and give them fresh leaves. Starve them for 24 hours. Rinse them, and drop them in a large pan of salted water at a rolling boil (i.e. as hot as possible so they die fast). Boil for at least 10 minutes, rinse under cold water, and use a pin to winkle the little bodies out of the shells. These tiny morsels go well in a tasty sauce. Butter and garlic is traditional, tomato sauces are also good.
Warning: snails are cute. So to make things easier remember the carnage they reeked on your seedlings.