WE are well and truly out of hibernation now and should have started tackling that impressive list of gardening jobs.

Probably the least attractive item on the list is weeding. If you give your beds a good weeding early on in the season your efforts should be rewarded later.

At this time of year, and depending on the severity of your weed invasion, the hoe is not the tool to use for this work.

The garden fork and possibly even the spade should be used to remove deep-rooted perennial weeds and the use of these tools will also break the soil up. The hoe is a maintenance tool for use later on in the season.

Hand pulling of the annual weeds is tiring but necessary and for the difficult areas such as rockeries or in and around established plants the careful use of weedkillers is the best solution.

Glysophosphate is the chemical to be found in many branded weedkillers and this works systemically, absorbed by the leaves and entering the whole plant, penetrating into the roots.

The most popular brand is Tumbleweed and this is available in a few forms for different applications. your garden centre staff will advise you.

Do not waste it. It is only absorbed by leaf tissue so once the leaf is wet any further application is of no benefit.

For anyone who has not used glysophosphate before, you do have to wait 10 to 14 days to see the results.

Turning to sweet treats, there is nothing like tasting your own strawberries, fresh from the garden. You can grow them in very little space.

If they are grown in the ground, then use mulch around them.

This stops any rotting of the fruit. Straw or special strawberry mulch mats can be used and don’t forget to use some organic slug pellets as well, as slugs just love a juicy strawberry.

You can grow them in hanging baskets and tall pots to make it harder for the slugs and birds to eat the fruit. The advantage of growing them in hanging baskets is that you can grow them in very little space.

You also give the plants as much sun as possible, by turning the basket around from time to time.

Use a good moisture retentive compost, but with good drainage, using broken pots or large stones at the bottom of the container.

Incorporate a slow release fertiliser with the compost, and when flowers are formed, give them a potash boost with a liquid tomato fertiliser.

In their first year, the plants are still getting settled in and growing, so don’t expect too much fruit off them.

Cut out any runners, as this will take the energy away from the forming fruits.

But in the second year, your plants will really give you a good yield.

After their third year, discard the plant and replace with new ones, as they start to lose vigour.

You can make new plants from your existing stock by laying the little plants from the runners in small pots of compost. They will soon root and then can be cut from the mother plant.

To have an extended season of fruit, plant varieties that overlap their fruiting times.

In my garden, I planted three plants together. Christine is an early variety, followed by Alice, a mid summer fruit bearer and Calypso, which is a late summer to early autumn cropper. In our damp region of the country, Symphony is also an excellent variety, with good disease resistance to mildew.

So get planting now for the taste of summer!