• Now is the time to plant garlic! Nip to your local garden centre and buy named varieties, soft neck or hard necked. You can also pop down to your local green grocer, and use their bulbs if you are on a budget. Once you get to your garden, prepare a raked and weed-free seedbed, carefully break the garlic bulb into individual cloves, use a hoe to pull out a narrow trench and then plant the cloves about 8 inches apart, upright, about 3 times as deep as they are wide, pull soil over them and then gently firm with the back of a rake, and you are done. Topdress with organic slow-release fertiliser and then harvest next summer when new bulbs have formed.

  • There are autumn planting varieties of onions available now too. They are planted in a similar way, a little further apart depending on the variety, resulting in an earlier onion crop for you, and also the chance of delicious spring onions if you harvest early.

  • This is the time of year to take hard wood cuttings of fruit bushes ( raspberries, blackcurrants, gooseberries etc.) Use 6 to 8 inch length stems from last year's growth , cut just below a bud and insert two thirds deep into a trench. Leave until autumn next year and you will have new rooted plants!

  • It's also the time for pruning late-flowering shrubs - always remember the three D's! Remove all dead, diseased, and dying wood, and in the case of Buddleia (the butterfly bush), remove at least one third of all growth now to prevent windrock in winter, before selectively pruning the main stems back to one third height in March. 

  • And finally, as winter draws in, don't forget to put out bowls of fresh water for your feathered friends and any hedgehogs still pottering around!

.... & something for your Christmas cracker

Can you decipher these gardening anagrams ?

that snail charm - a well known gardener

contain badger - an area with a collection of living plants