Winter is just around the corner and if you’ve not already tackled the garden, you might be looking out into a dismal jungle of wilting plants in dismay. Once the cold weather has kicked in, it can take an awful lot of motivation to get out there and do the tasks your plants are crying out for, to help them survive the colder months. However, completing a few simple tasks now can help protect your plants and save you a lot of work when the weather warms up again. Here’s a quick guide to what you need to do whilst the weather will still allow:
1: Get rid of your annuals
Sure, your lobelia might still be waving a few sunny strands in your direction but now’s the time to dig it up and pop it on the compost heap. Leave your annuals where they are and you’ll be left with a soggy rotten and scraggley mess in your beds later on.
2. Introduce winter colour
Replace your wilting annuals with some winter pansies which will brave the cold and reward you with cheery colour to lift your mood. You might also want to consider purchasing artificial hanging baskets or hanging topiary balls – they are a great way to maintain a lovely display through the colder months, without having to worry about watering, feeding and maintenance.
Artificial topiary balls with lights can look really cosy during colder winter months.
3. Feed your lawn
This year’s weather has been unusually harsh on garden lawns and there’s just time for a quick feed to restore the damage done and encourage new growth.
Dropping a little seed and feed doesn’t really cut it at this time of year – you really need to gently rake out any thatch, use a garden fork to aerate and then apply your treatments.
4. Prepare your pond
Although you could just leave your pond through the winter months, a little prep will save you a lot of maintenance once winter is done. Clear out any debris and cover to keep further debris from falling in through the winter.
5. Do the weeding
Who really wants to weed though? Believe us, we get it. However doing the weeding now will save a much harder and muckier job in the spring. Look out for weeds right through the garden, whether it’s in the flower bed, on the lawn or growing up through your patio. If you’re weeding on the lawn check that your weedkiller won’t also kill your grass before using it – otherwise, you’ll have to weed the old fashioned way!
6. Trim your bushes (insert joke here)
Giving the old perennials a good trim at this time of year is essential. These plants can easily spread and invade past their growing space, so it’s good time to get them back under control.
7. Grow cover crops
According to website Grow Veg, cover crops, or green manures, are a great way to protect ground that would otherwise lie bare over winter. Dig them in and they’ll help to build up your soil’s organic matter – which is great news for the vegetables that follow! The end of summer is the perfect time to sow a cover crop for winter. Watch the video below or click to find out more.
8. Prepare young trees
Young trees can suffer from bitter cold and should be insulated using hessian, straw, fleece, bracken or similar. This should be held in place by wire netting. Some gardeners will also wrap their plants with clear polythene to reduce the chances of them rotting during wet spells.
9. Dig in the compost
Compost and mulch protect your plants from cold spells and offer nutrients during the harsher months. Add a couple of inches of compost followed by a layer of mulch to offer the best protection.