The temperature is beginning to drop. We are starting to wrap ourselves up in layers before we leave the house. For some, the heating has been turned on.
As many of us prepare our home, and wardrobe, for the colder months, gardeners are tending to their cherished outdoor space. As the cold, dark weather begins to draw in, they are preparing their garden in time for winter to protect their plants.
Those who have only recently been bitten by the gardening bug might be a little unsure about where to start with their winter gardening tasks. If you are new to the gardening world, here are a few ways you can prepare your beloved garden space in time for the colder months.
Injecting Color Into Your Garden
As the golden, warm tones of autumn begin to fade into the grey hues of winter, your garden can often appear dull and dire. Even in the colder months, growing flowers that will provide your garden with vibrant colours will brighten up even the darkest of days. Cyclamen, pansies, and heather are just some of the plants that you can incorporate into your garden in either hanging baskets or pots to add a bit of colour.
Cover Your Crops
Using cover crops will help to prevent soil erosion during the winter months. it can also help to avoid soil quality and fertility being negatively affected as a result of the dropping temperatures. Plants need you to protect and nurture them as they grow and mature. The winter months, when the weather becomes bitterly cold, is the time when your plants need the most protection and nurturing.
One way to defend them is by using materials such as fleece, straw, bracken, and hessian. These can be held in place by a wire netting structure. Another tactic some gardeners use is wrapping their plants in clear polythene to prevent them from rotting from the wet weather.
Carry Out General Maintenance
Sheds and outbuildings can benefit from undergoing some maintenance and repair work before winter comes. Pull up your safety boots to keep you protected and warm as you fix any loose or rotten boards.
Spend time sharpening and oiling the blades of gardening tools. After being used all season, they can start to become ineffective and dull.
In addition to maintenance to either your shed or outbuilding, thoroughly wash through seed trays, pots, labels and other garden equipment. Afterwards, allow them to properly dry to prevent the spread of moulds before you store them away.
Remove Rotting And Finished Plants
Alongside maintenance to your outbuildings, you should make some changes to the plants in your garden. Old plants not only look untidy, but they also harbour disease, pests, and funguses. Unwanted infestations that feed on your crops throughout the summer might lay eggs on the plant’s stalks and leaves.
Removing these spent plants from the soil surface will prevent pests from getting a head start for springtime. According to experts, with old plants, consider burying them in their garden. It can add organic matter to your soil, improve the soil tilth and its overall health.
Prepare Your Ground For The Next Season
After removing the weeds and plants from your garden, it is now the ideal time to dig over your plot and incorporate organic matter such as compost, ready for spring planting. The winter weather can be kind to your garden. Freezing and thawing can break organic matter, kill overwintering pests, and help to break down heavy clay, as well as improve its structure and drainage.
Review The Growing Season
Ask yourself if the selection of fruits and vegetables that you planted turned out how you anticipated. As you remove weeds and plants, reflect on the growing season and reconsider underperforming plants. Research if there is a better variety of plants that can grow in your location.
When reviewing vegetable performance, take notes during the next season about what worked and what didn’t. Although some of the successes and failures of the season can be due to weather, others are within your control. Factors such as soil fertility, moisture levels and plant placement can all be adjusted. You might think that you will remember the highs and lows of summer come springtime. However, keeping a short list of lessons learned now will help to provide you with more information in the end, and when it is needed the most.
The Bottom Line
Regardless of where you live, there are always steps that you can take to prepare your garden for next year’s gardening season. Taking these steps now will not only help your garden to bloom in spring and summer, but it could also help to improve your yields over the long term.
At the end of the growing season, it is tempting to leave the garden behind and retreat to the warmth of indoors. Tackling some of these tasks now before winter comes, means that you will have a head start for the next season, ready for the excitement and new beginnings of spring.
Last Updated on June 25, 2023 by Lucy Clarke