Let’s be honest, it’s not the first on your list of things to do in winter (thinking Christmas shopping, snuggling up by the fire with a good book…) but there are a number of essential winter gardening jobs that really need doing before the cold hard frost sets in and you really won’t want to venture out.
Rake and dispose of fallen leaves in your composter. Depending on how many trees are close to your property this could become a daily task through autumn. To save your energy, you may want to do this just once a week. Before the first frost hits, aerate, fertilise (do not use nitrogen-rich spring fertiliser as this produces soft leaf growth vulnerable to disease and frost) and mow your lawn, then there’s little else to be done before the spring time comes back around.
Border Plants, Shrubs & Vegetables
Remove any dead or dying plants from your borders and dead-head flowered shrubs. Compost these items for next year. Plant pests and diseases thrive on decaying matter so it’s important to clear these from your garden. Bring winter hanging baskets undercover to protect them as much as possible.
You can either see winter gardening as a time for tidying up and laying low until spring, or you can spend just as much time as you would in the warmer months sourcing and displaying plants, shrubs and grasses that thrive in winter. This way, you have a year-round display. Look for hardy types like ivy and evergreen grasses to make a beautiful winter landscape. Position plants near doors and paths so you’ll get to see those more often.
Now’s the time to get ready to plant seeds that need to be planted in mid-late winter for early flowering. Hardy perennials will grow slowly through the winter but are strong enough to survive in situ and do not need to be grown in pots first, some example are pansy, hollyhock, larkspur and sweet pea. Winter vegetables such as autumn planting onion, perpetual spinach, broad beans and asparagus can make a great winter crop so there’s no need to lock up the greenhouse just yet.
Trees & hedges
With high winds and bad weather on the way – check for low hanging or fractured branches that may be at risk of blowing down into your garden or onto your home. Damaged branches will be easier to spot once all the leaves have fallen from the trees.
Low hanging branches and hedges create the perfect environment for moss to grow. Moss can inhibit drainage and cause plant disease so either remove the branches or lay down moss killer, raking it out a few weeks later when the plant has turned black.
Time to put the BBQ to bed! It was fun whilst is lasted but now’s the time to put large items of garden furniture such as BBQs, trampolines, chairs and tables into your shed or garage for over-winter storage. Some wooden furniture is hard wearing enough to be left out all winter but to preserve its life we’d recommend storing it out of the elements.
So that you are fully ready for the new spring season ahead once you have completed your winter gardening tasks, make sure all of your garden tools are cleaned and checked for any damage. Oil blades and repair any broken parts and store them away from the damp where possible.
We wrote a few weeks ago about tips for getting your home ready for winter, follow these tips for keeping the outside of your home in tip-top condition throughout the winter months.