Click on my podcast (above) to hear all about the changes happening in my garden.

We had a compost box made of plastic, where I saw a hole in it some months ago – RATS! So we moved it. But now the other compost heap is covered in rat droppings, and although I personally don’t mind rats it’s time to cut off their food supply, so that compost heap is going too.

Generally speaking, compost that just has plant material in it is not much of a problem but these rodents like to sleep in it – it’s warm, its safe and it’s dry. So you can’t blame them really.

Rats do carry diseases such as leptospirosis, or Lyme’s disease but by far the worst thing about rats is they cause the neighbours to go squiffy!

Actually it’s a good thing. I cant dig that much these days, and so the area where the heaps were will become more raised beds. I am sealing the ground beneath with a couple of layers of very expensive but super strong woven plastic and then the beds will go on this, giving me the opportunity to sit on the beds if needed and garden away. The plastic will cover the soil and good quality bark will cover the plastic. So it will all look good as well as remain productive.

When I was a young gardener I would have turned away from raised beds, choosing instead to have as much of the ground in cultivation as possible but you change the way you garden as you get older, and rightly so – there is nothing wrong with this.

This is why I love being Mr Digwell. The cartoons drawn in the 1940s, perfect for its time, isn’t always right for now. One thing is clear though, you should always get the best gardening material you can afford. Take my black plastic. If I bought the cheap rolls of what looks like black wallpaper it would be no use after a really short time. I need something that will allow water through but nothing else – tough woven ground cover is the only thing. It’s not cheap, but it will last.

The same goes for seeds, tools, almost anything in the garden. If you aim to buy something only once in your gardening lifetime, you won’t go far wrong, and it will force you to care for your kit.

In our garden, a mile out of town, we get so many birds and mammals, from rabbits to foxes, nuthatches to woodpeckers. It really is wonderful to sit in the greenhouse and simply leave them to feed in the garden. I know I have said it before but if you could grow a flower that does the same things as a robin, you will be sitting on a goldmine!

Rhubarb is flowering all over the UK. This I think is down to the wettish spring and warm Easter. It can also indicate soil that needs feeding, so cut out the flowering spike, and feed your rhubarb, making sure you give it a really good mulch next spring with some well rotted manure.

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Charlie Dimmock

Gardener at BBC Gardeners World
Charlotte Elouise "Charlie" Dimmock (born 10 August 1966) is an English gardening expert and TV presenter. She was one of the team on Ground Force, a BBC gardening makeover programme.