Winter is fast approaching, which means it’s time to do some essential garden maintenance. Doing so will put you in a better position and save you work when spring arrives. Below we’ve compiled a list of 8 of the most important winter gardening tasks.
Clean up your Greenhouse
Autumn is an ideal time to clear out plant debris, disinfect your floor & surfaces and give your glass a good clean. As the days are getting shorter, you should also remove your shade paint to maximise the amount of light available to your plants. Finally, clear out your gutters and repair any damaged panes of glass.
Use your Compost
Now is an ideal time to clear out your compost heap and use it around your garden, as you’ll be creating plenty more (see the points below). If the contents aren’t quite ready, turn it to speed up decomposition. If you end up with an excess of compost, you can always start another heap – you can pick up a composter for cheap and you can never have too much compost!
Rake up your Leaves and Make Leafmould
Decomposed leaves make excellent soil conditioner. Rake up fallen leaves and put them in a composter. Depending on the type of leaves, they can take around two years to fully decompose, so you will need to rotate every year. Shredding the leaves first can help speed things up. Leavemould works great as mulch for your borders.
Evergreens will keep your garden looking lush and interesting throughout the year. Plant them in the Autumn while your soil is still relatively warm and use them to fill in the gaps left by seasonal plants. Sarcococca and Daphne are always good choices, while spring flowering Camellias or Fatsia are good options for shrubbery. For more fragile plants, start them off in a cold frame before moving them to the garden.
Tidy up your Borders
Autumn is the perfect time to dig out annuals, relocate poorly-placed plants, clear away any lingering weeds and replenish your soil using your compost or leafmould. You should also cut your perennials right down ready for the spring.
By late autumn, your lawn has probably already been mowed for the last time and won’t need much attention throughout the winter. That said, now is a good time to address any damage or wear & tear caused over the summer. Use a rake to remove any loose grass clippings or moss and put it on your compost heap. You may need to use a specialist moss killer if you have a serious moss problem. You can also buy autumn lawn feed to keep your grass in top condition over the winter months.
If you are planning to lay new turf, Autumn is an excellent time to do it. It gives the new grass plenty of time to establish before summer.
Store your Garden Furniture
Depending on the type of garden furniture you have, you may want to put it in storage or cover it up while it’s not in use. Doing so will protect it from the elements and lengthen its lifespan. Lightweight plastic or metal furniture can be stored away safely in your garage or shed. If you have heavier wooden garden furniture, it may be easier to buy furniture covers or apply a protective coating.
Maintain your Gardening Tools
As you won’t be using them much in the winter, take the opportunity to look after your gardening tools. Taking your lawnmower in for a service will ensure that it operates smoothly when you need it the following year. Cutting tools such as shears will need to be sharpened, and your other metal tools will be in need of a good wash. Dry them thoroughly and oil them to prevent rust. If your tools have wooden handles, apply some linseed oil to protect them.