Whilst winter is not the most inspiring time of year as far as gardening goes, there are lots of odd jobs to be getting on with that will keep your garden happy throughout the winter, bringing a bountiful springtime garden that will burst with life.
The first thing to tick off your checklist is sending off your seed catalogues and planning what you’ll grow in the spring. It’s important to plan ahead so you can plant everything in the right month.
Don’t forget about who else uses your garden. Birds need all the help they can get in these cold months – so remember to provide them with seeds, mealworms, fat balls and a birdbath that you refill regularly. This will bring you joy all throughout the year when the same birds feed, nest, mate and raise chicks in your garden!
Caring for your flower beds
Tidy up and any faded perennials – that’s your irises, delphiniums, agapanthuses and lupins. These will grow back once spring comes around again. To protect them from frost, cover the surrounding soil with a thick mulch of straw and compost.
After the first frost, rescue your dahlia tubers from the ground and store them in dry compost in a frost-free space, such as the shed. These will be ready to go back in the soil in the spring. Take the time to clear up any rose leaves which suffered from blackspot. While this may seem tedious, it will stop the disease from returning the following year. If you’re growing young trees or shrubs, it is worth rabbit-proofing them with stem protection guards.
Tending to your fruits and veggies
Tidy up strawberry beds by cutting back old growth and removing weeds. Any Brussels sprouts you’re growing to accompany your turkey will need canes to stop them toppling over. The sprouts at the bottom of the plant are ready to eat before those at the top, so pick them throughout the winter months. If you leave them till Christmas eve, they will be spoiled! As a defence against pigeons, cover your brassicas – that’s your cabbages and kales – with netting. Your carrots and parsnips will need a blanket of straw around them to protect them from the frost if they too are going to make it to the Christmas dinner plate.
Frost-proofing your greenhouse
Insulating the greenhouse walls with bubble polythene (like giant bubble wrap) is a good way to combat the cold temperatures your garden will face in the coming months. While a laborious task, it will give your plants a fighting chance through the winter. If you missed planting your spring bulbs in the autumn, all is not lost! Daffodil, hyacinth and tulip bulbs can be grown in a pot in the greenhouse and watered regularly so they don’t dry out before the spring.
Any potted herbs you have will thank you for being brought into the greenhouse by giving you crops throughout the winter. It is also important to clear out any tomato and cucumber plants from the warmer months and add them to the compost. These will need to be replanted next year, so don’t forget to order those seeds!
Winter garden to-do list
- Order seeds
- Feed the birds
- Cut and mulch perennials
- Lift dahlia tubers
- Clear rose leaves with blackspot
- Rabbit-proof fruit trees
- Tidy strawberry beds
- Support sprouts
- Cover cabbages with net
- Insulate greenhouse
- Plant spring bulbs
- Move herbs inside
- Clear tomatoes & cucumbers