Gardeners should get out and build in the cold

Gardeners who brave the cold in winter could set their garden up perfectly for spring, according to Alan Titchmarsh.

In his column for the Daily Express, the TV presenter revealed the coldest period of the year is the best time to get on with that big project people talk about but continually put off.

He named building a kitchen garden as one of the best ventures to begin in January.

Clear out any weeds and work in some well-rotted compost before making sure any fruit trees, bushes or canes are in place by mid-March for best results, Mr Titchmarsh explained.

Another great idea is a polytunnel, he added, as the humidity provided works very much like a greenhouse, allowing gardeners to cultivate all sorts of plants that do not fare well in the British climate such as aubergines, chillies, cucumbers, sweet peppers and cantaloupe melons.

Putting bubble wrap around containers is an effective way to insulate plants in cold weather, the Royal Horticultural Society explained recentl