After a busy gardening season, the time has come to tidy a little, put our feet up with a cup of tea and peruse seed and plant catalogues, planning for next year. Before the frosts, however, there is still time to do some chores around the garden and allotment to ensure that the next growing season starts smoothly.
- Now is the time to remove the shading in the greenhouse. Shorter days mean less sunlight, and our tender plants need as much light as they can get.
- Look out for any leaves clogging gutters. You do not want to resort to putting your Marigolds on and scooping detritus.
- It is a good time to build cold frames, raised beds and make general repairs and alterations.
In the garden
- Bring any potted plant into the green house or into the conservatory. A sudden drop in temperatures or prolonged cold weather can harm the roots of plants as the cold penetrates the pot. If you can’t bring them inside gather them and place them near a wall so they can benefit from the heat.
- You should also consider wrapping them in bubble wrap or hessian. Elevating them is also recommended as the wet weather can saturate the compost and rot the roots.
- Bulbs should have gone in by now. You still have time to buy some – in fact many shops will be selling them at a reduced price. Just make sure you plant them as soon as you get your hands on them.
- Tidy your borders. Cut back dead foliage from deciduous and perennial plants.
- Remove old grass clipping and moss with a rake. If the soil is very compacted, use a fork to make holes on the lawn to air it. Mow it for the last time now – beginning of November).
- Invest in evergreens while the soil is still warm. They are the backbones of the garden.
- Dig up annuals and add them to the compost heap.
- Use leaves as a mulch to protect plants and soil.
Fruit and Veg
- Overwinter your crops by covering your veg with cloches and fleece.
- Pull up dead plants. Dispose of plants affected by blight separately and make it your last chore of the day so you don’t spread the spores.
- Leave bean and pea roots in the soil so they can release nitrogen.
- Weed the ground before the soil freezes as it will expose insects.
- Look for hardy varieties of winter crops for onions, shallots, garlic, broad beans, spring onion and pak choi, rhubarb and asparagus crowns and strawberry runners.
Let us know in the comments if you do any of these. We’d also love to learn what other things you do in the garden during winter. In the meantime, why not take stock of what new tools you need and whether you can justify buying a new shed!