You don’t need us to tell you that winter is on its way. Dark nights, tumbling temperatures and wet weather; it’s time to crank up the central heating and get your thickest woollies out.
With less daylight and energy to spend pottering about outside, it’s easy to let your garden fall to the wayside. But who wants a massive clear up come spring?
Sub-zero temperatures, gale force winds, heavy rainfall and thick blankets of snow can leave your garden in a sorry state. That’s why it’s time to take action. Get out your wellies and get your garden ready for whatever the big freeze throws its way.
- Get rid of any lingering compost, rubbish and anything else destined for the tip – after months spent fermenting in the winter damp, you won’t want to put them in your car come spring. Plus, if you’re celebrating Bonfire Night at home, you don’t want to be falling over lumps and bumps in the dark.
- Plan now if you’re thinking of planting any shrubs, flowers or vegetables next year - it’s never too early. Get seed supplies in and find out how to get the best out of your soil over winter.
- Clean your gardening tools carefully before storing them away for their well-earned winter break. No one wants rusty kit come spring.
- Make sure your shed is weatherproof and contents are well covered with tarp before you down tools for the winter – wet, windy and icy weather can play havoc with even the most hardy of belongings. Seal and line your shed to protect it from the elements, and carry out a quick check to ensure it’s properly elevated from the ground.
- Trim any bushes and plants right back so they don’t go wild over winter. You’ll save yourself a mammoth trimming task once winter’s out of the way.
- Turn soil over once you’ve cut plants down to size. This will help to aerate the soil and kick-start organic breakdown of plant tissue.
- Clear away dead leaves as soon as you can. Left to their own devices, they can cause problems - from blocking guttering to inhibiting lawn growth. Trade your rake in for a leaf blower: much quicker and actually quite fun.
- Check for any wildlife before you do any clearing or intensive garden work. Make sure they have a home for winter too - you can leave a pile of wood or leaves so they have somewhere to hibernate.
- Dig in windbreaks. Strong winds can cause severe damage to new and fragile plants. Artificial screens do a good job of keeping gales at bay.
- If you can’t bear for them to be left outside, bring any fragile plants and flowers inside - ideally before night time temperatures dip below 10°C. Try not to send plants into shock; make the change gradually to acclimatise plants and reduce yellow and dropped leaves.
- Wrap potted plants up in an extra layer if they’re staying in the garden. Cloche and bubble wrap are both brilliant at maintaining a healthy growth and keeping chills out.
Do you have any more handy winter gardening tips?