If you feel like busying but the weather is bad why not give your garden tools a treat. First wash them down with warm, soapy water. Next, check which are blunt or rusty.

Use a wire brush to remove rust and rub over with an oily rag. Before sharpening add a couple of drops of general purpose oil and then apply a sharpening stone. Push the stone forwards and to the side of the blade with gentle downward pressure. Turn the knife over and brush the stone across to remove rough edges. Only sharpen the outside blade of bypass secateurs and the upper surface of hoes. Finally, feed them with linseed oil on both the wooden and metal sections to help prevent rust.

Take an inventory of tools and equipment that you need for next year and make sure your friends and family know in time for Christmas!

Tidying the shed is satisfying and can be an ongoing winter pastime. The goal is space so get rid of anything you can, hang tools on walls and think cleverly about other methods of storage.

Allotmenteers, do check the security of your shed as during the winter months you may not be there so often. For smallholders it’s worth taking the time to check that locks on gates and doors around the plot are secure.

On a bright day apply a wood preservative to gates, fences, sheds and outdoor furniture to prevent them from rotting and to help them look better.

Hedges are valuable to us all in so many ways. They play a vital role in pollination, soil retention, water quality, landscape and control and shelter for livestock.

While hedges do need trimming, it is possible to help birds, bees, dormice and other wildlife which depend on hedgerows by cutting fewer times and less dramatically.

Stretches of hedges that grow slowly can cope with being cut back every three years. Leaving a few inches of new growth means there will be more flowers and berries next year.

Before beginning to hedge it is important to check that there are no birds nesting. As well as being cruel, it is an offence under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 to damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built.

It won’t be long until the days start lengthening so do also take this time to put your feet up before the growing year starts again.