After enjoying the garden throughout the summer – as the days start to shorten you need to consider what action you need to take in the garden in preparation for winter. Mostly this only involves a small amount of work but it’s best to make a list of what needs doing. I use ‘post-it’ notes all the time as this enables me to plod away through the list ensuring that nothing gets forgotten.
As autumn comes around you will find this can be an ideal time to make preparations for the winter. Ensuring the survival of plants as well as making preparation and improving the ground for the forthcoming spring when life in the garden start to flourish again. To this end, it’s important to protect plants for the harshness of the winter months and by using horticultural fleece this can help to insulate your vulnerable plants from the cold.
This fleece will help to keep the ground warmer but will also allow it to breath enabling plants to continue to survive underneath. This, you will find, is far better than plastic as that does not offer any warmth and could increase the chance of the plant rotting. As well as protecting your plants it’s a good idea to remove any weeds around the garden. Even though they won’t grow during the cold spell by starting the new season off weed less will always be a bonus.
Another idea floating about in a no-dig garden. This involves layering compost on the garden and allowing worms to work their way through taking the compost down into the soil. By doing this in the Autumn the ground should be ready to take plants in the Spring. Whether this is as good as digging the compost into the ground and leaving the frost to break the ground up is questionable.
Other essential things to do is to harvest what is left in the garden and store away, usually, nice and dry in the garden shed. The garden shed does need to be checked over as well to ensure that the winter won’t hasten its demise and this is simple enough task just by checking over and retreating as required. Check the roofing felt and the shed windows as well and repair if required.
When treating always aim to use a quality spirit or oil-based treatment for the best results. There are water-based garden shed treatments available but in my experience, after 39 years in the garden shed business, are not so good. Besides checking and treating the shed take a look at any garden or patio furniture to ensure it has the required protection. With wooden furniture use again a good quality oil based treatment as this tends to soak into the wood and adds suppleness to the wood which can only be good.
Besides the above it’s always a good idea to have a really good clear up, in fact, I think a pre-winter clean, in my view, is better than a spring clean. By doing so you are disposing of garden items which will play no part in the future in your garden. This includes clearing out old plant pots from old flowers and shrubs. All the waste can go onto the compost heap so it can break down into usable compost for the new season.
Garden ornaments should also be collected up and stored away to protect them from the ravishes of the Winter. Likewise be careful with concrete ornaments, certainly, if they have any cracks in them as they could break if water gets in and freezes. Just try to ensure they are dry and shaded before the worse of the weather arrives.
By doing this now you will be thanking yourself come the Spring when you will be able to start the new season in fine style. Don’t make the mistake of leaving it and then regretting it then. Just imagine your self as a boy scout – you don’t have to dress for the part – and ‘Be Prepared’.