Looking After Your Garden During the Winter

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Many people make the mistake of hanging up their trowels in October and not touching them again until the spring, but if you want your garden to look at its best, you need to keep gardening all year round.

During the winter, you have the opportunity to think about how you can improve your garden and plan for the spring and summer. Getting outside in the fresh air can have huge health benefits too, as long as you wrap up warm enough.

Here are some ideas of gardening jobs you should tackle this winter:

Give your garden some TLC

You should start by doing some of the maintenance jobs you’ve been putting off for months. For instance, you could fix any broken fence panels and remove algae, moss and lichens from your patio and paths.

Unless the ground is frozen, you could spend an hour or two digging and forking your soil, mowing your grass and pruning any bushes that have gotten out of control. Don’t be Looking After Your Garden During the Wintertempted to water your soil too much as this can cause it to compact and suffocate your plants’ roots.

Why not build your own compost heap as you’ll have plenty of leaves and cuttings to start it off? You could install a water butt on your drain pipe, something you’ll really benefit from next summer when you’ll need to water your plants and lawn regularly.

Invest in a vegetable patch                 

If you’ve never had a vegetable patch before, you’ve been missing out. You’ll get a great buzz from eating vegetables you’ve grown, it can save you money and if you have grandchildren, tending your vegetable patch could be something you’ll enjoy doing together.

The colder months are great for growing broad beans, onions, shallots, garlic, peas and asparagus in raised beds. To protect them from pests and frost, invest in a mini greenhouse cloche. If the weather forecast says that there’s going to be snow, cover your vegetable patch temporarily with a piece of old carpet.

Offer a helping hand to wild birds and animals

Winter is the hardest season for birds as they can struggle to find enough food. Why not install a bird table if you don’t have one already? You’ll love watching from your window as your winged visitors tuck into the seeds, bacon rind and peanuts you’ve left for them. Most birds like uncooked porridge oats and blackbirds really enjoy eating wet dog food too.

Want to help hedgehogs? They’ll be looking for somewhere to hibernate until spring so you could buy or build a hedgehog house and place it in an area of your garden that’s overgrown. Frogs and newts can also benefit from having similar houses to hide in.

Inject some colour into your borders

You don’t need to have bare borders in the winter months, you can grow pansies, polyanthus, forget-me-nots and violas. You should also dedicate some time to weeding your borders, cleaning your tools and sorting out your shed if it’s untidy.

Protect your plants from frost

If you have plants in pots, you might want to move them into your conservatory or garage to protect them from frost over the winter months. To insulate larger plants, trees and shrubs from the cold you can wrap fleece, hessian or polystyrene around their trunks and cover with waterproof sheeting. 

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