If you have enjoyed working on garden projects over warmer months, it may seem that Winter is a time to give up on your hobby…. waiting for Spring arrive before another flurry of gardening activity.
However, there are many useful things that you can be doing - even on the iciest day - that will make your gardening more enjoyable for the months ahead. These include the following:
Clean and tidy those tools
Give your garden tools a good clean to get rid of any dirt or rust. Use an eco-friendly mild disinfectant to clean plant pots and seed trays. Organise everything into places where you can quickly identify and reach for them when they are needed. While you are about this, it may be a good time also to clean that outdoor garden furniture and re-paint where necessary.
Care for your Veggies
If you still have some root vegetables – such as parsnips and carrots - in the ground, cover them with about 15cm of leaves or straw. Then they can be harvested throughout the winter. If snow or a deep frost is expected, cover with an old piece of carpet or blanket.
Consider preparing container close to a doorway, window or path to create colour and life to a wintry scene. Use a strong, frost-hardy container. Soil-based John Innes no 3 compost is also essential. Position the pot carefully before you plant as once the soil and plants are added, it may be too heavy to move it afterwards. If the drainage hole is small place the container on three pot feet to help drainage. Suitbale plants are everreen shrubs such as Sarcococca confusa which has shiny pointed leaves and scented, white bundles of stamens, Skimmia japonica 'Rubella' (clusters of wine-red buds), or Skimmia japonica subsp. reevesiana (crimson-red fruits).
Care of grassy areas and Compost
Any lawn area needs a rest over the winter months, so keeping off it is helpful. Make an exception of this rule to get rid of large weeds, moss and leaves. If you do not have a compost heap or bin, this is a good a time to start one, with all those Autumn leaves and cuttings to be disposed of. An occasional stir will help the composting process.
Caring for wildlife is so important and bring you much pleasure. Putting out appropriate food and water will not only help wild birds and other local wildlife to survive the winter but will encourage them to stay.
A cold winter’s evening can be happily spent looking at mail order seed catalogues, online suppliers – and planning the growing season to come. Tiem well spent.
Why not consider learning more by signing up one of ADL’s courses on horticulture? Those long winter evenings can be spent learning more about your hobby, and honing those gardening skills. There is a wide range of horticulture courses available.