While we might have had some unseasonably nice weather over the last few days, the sad truth is upon us. As the rain and chill start to creep back in and the heating gets turned on, we have to accept that winter is once again on its way. That means you will be spending less and less time out in the garden, and more time staring out of the window reminiscing about the summer barbeques and drinks with friends.
But if you want to enjoy your garden the second spring arrives next year, you need to start now. Preparing your garden for winter is an important part of your garden maintenance, and will help you get outside as simply and quickly as possible when the warm weather returns. So, what do you need to do?
Clean Up Rotting And Finished Plants
Besides looking untidy, old plants can harbour disease, pests and funguses. This attracts insects that will feed on them and lay their eggs on the stalks and leaves. Removing rotting or dead plants from your boarders now might leave them looking a bit bare, but it stops the pests getting a head start in springtime. Keeping insects and rot out of your garden is also better for its inhabitants – from you (who might breathe in fungal spores), to any pets you may have, or even local wildlife. If you don’t like the idea of waste, you can bury the rotting plants in the soil, away from the surface. This adds organic matter to the soil as it decomposes, improving soil health over the winter.
Remove Invasive Weeds
Weeds are a nuisance at any time of year, but during the spring and summer months we tend to do more to keep them at bay. We rip them out as soon as we spot them, putting down weed killer and making sure we pull the roots out so that They don’t spoil our nice outdoor environment. But during the winter we aren’t so vigilant, and this gives weeds the chance to spread and invade your entire garden. So take the chance now to go over your garden and dig up the weeds, being sure to put them in the green waste bin or burn them in the autumn bonfire. Removing invasive plants completely is the only way to prevent them from sprouting all over again and disrupting your garden for next year.
Prepare Your Soil For Spring
Despite the fact that most people do this around springing, the best time to prep your soil for new growth is actually before the winter frosts set in. So grab your garden fork and get digging! As well as giving the soil a thorough forking over to break up the surface, you should also dig in some amendments to improve the quality. Things like manure, compost, bone meal, kelp and rock phosphate will all add vital nutrients to your soil, making it the perfect growing environment for spring. Plus, because it’s not too warm at this time of year, it will be a slightly easier task to manage!
Plant Cover Crops
Over winter the soil can get rock solid, making it difficult for anything to grow and stunting the processing of nutrients. This means you will need to add those nutrients back in come sprint when you want to plant. But if you plant cover crops now, then you don’t need to worry! Cover crops like rye, vetch or clover keep the frost from freezing the soil solid and prevent soil erosion. They break up compacted areas of soil and increase the levels of organic matter in your beds, feeding all of those nutrients into the soil ready for spring. A little bit of planting now, and you don’t need to worry about doing so much in spring.
Prune Your Perennials
Autumn (which is sadly what we are in now) is a good time to trim back some perennial garden plants – as long as you are careful to choose the right ones. Plants like fennel, blueberries, blackberries, rosemary, thyme, sage, asparagus and rhubarb could all benefit from a good tidy up before the cold months come. Trim any dead growth and remove any spent or crossing canes, and you will have a much healthier plant in spring.
Plant Bulbs Now
If you want tat beautiful blooming garden to tell you that spring has finally arrived, then you need to prepare it now. Spring bulbs often need to be planted in autumn or winter if you want them to flower properly. So now if the time to pick our your spring flowers, get some bulbs and start planting! You may want to mark where you plant them to ensure you know where they are later in the year, but once planted you can basically leave them be – autumn rain will give them enough water to grow underground, ready to sprout up when the chill fades away.
Wherever you live, there are always steps you can take to prepare for next year’s gardening season. Done now, these steps will not only help your spring and summer garden look better, but reduce the amount of work you need to do to achieve it. If you need help achieving this, just get in touch with the team at JB Landscaping today.