If you were hoping for an Indian summer this year, I’m sorry to say that it’s not going to happen. Winter has most definitely arrived! Now is the time to check you have prepping your garden for the colder months so you are ready for the worst of the weather.
So make the most of any dry, warmish days to get out in the garden and get yours in shape for the winter months. Here is a list of some of the most common and important jobs that you should focus on.
Tidy Up Your Flower Beds
Those plants that still look good will look even better if you tidy up everything around them, and give them a last chance to shine. Thin out any plants that have outgrown their space, dig up anything that needs to be protected from the frost (such as Dahlias), cut off any dry dead plant matter and loosen compacted soil around and between plants. A border fork is ideal for getting in between your plants in a closely packed flowerbed.
Now’s also the time to divide herbaceous plants, collect seed from perennials and annuals and sow seed for next year. Now’s the time to plant out spring bulbs and give yourself something to look forward to in the new year. A hand towel with a telescopic handle makes planting bulbs in hard to reach corners much easier.
Not got the right tools for the job? This will make the task a lot harder, it will take longer and in some cases, you risk injury. It is worth investing in decent quality garden tools for those jobs that you are going to have to do regularly. Blades should be sharp for any pruning. If they are not you increase the risk of introducing disease. If you don;t have the right tools or you can;t cope with some of the harder jobs then consider using a gardener.
Protect Your Veg!
If you have a vegetable patch it will be a prime target for slugs, snails and birds as other sources of food die back. Harvest any vegetables or fruit before you lose them, and net your cabbages, brussel sprouts and other leafy greens to keep the pigeons off. While you at it prepare your veg patch soild for next year by double-diging. Autumn and winter are the best times to do this so grab a spade and start working up a sweat!
Clean Out Your Greenhouse
Before moving tender plants into a full size or lean to greenhouse, give it a good tidy up and clean out so that it’s ready for the new growing season. You may also like to add some insulation over the winter months; bubble wrap is a popular DIY choice.
If you don’t have a greenhouse now is a good time to get one installed and prepared for Winter and early Spring plantings. You can buy then fairly cheaply off the shelf from the usual home stores and garden centers and you can also buy a posh greenhouse online. However there are some basic greenhouse adjustments you should make in order for it to perform well and be easier for you to use and keep tidy.
Protect Your Tools
As well as cleaning out your greenhouse your gardening tools will also need some TCL. Clean off mud and soil and lubricate blades with vegetable oil. You can also oil your wooden handled gardening tools with linseed, or paint metal handles with hammered enamel paint.
Protect Your Pond
Stretch some netting across ponds and water features to prevent autumn leaves collecting in them. Make sure netting is securely fastened around your pond so that wildlife doesn’t get stuck underneath. Metal garden pegs are perfect if fastening into the soil around it.
There won’t be many more opportunities to mow the lawn so give yours a final cut. It’s also a good time to lay turf, so if your lawn needs some repair work – do this now. Your lawn can still look smart during the winter months so use an edging tool to complete an end of year tidy. An adjustable lawn rake makes light work of clearing leaves from your lawn, without damaging the turf. Or try some garden leaf grabbers for moving your raked leaves into the compost bin.
Pruning, Trimming and Lopping
Hedges and shrubs will also need a last trim before the winter sets in. Have a good look at any trees and large shrubs to see whether they have any dangerous branches: lop them off before they do any damage in windy weather. Cut out any dead wood or branches that are damaged. Thin out frees and shrubs by removing crossing or overgrowing branches. For little jobs that don’t require a tree surgeon pruning saws and loppers are useful tools to have in your garden shed. When you have finished lopping and pruning be sure to correctly dispose of all this garden waste responsibly.
Treating your wooden deck and garden furniture is another job for this time of year. Make sure the rot doesn’t set in so you can enjoy your garden in the warmer months.
Prevent slipping by giving patios and decks a good clean with a stiff brush to clear moss and other debris off them and then use a pressumaterials to remove any moss or other organic materilas. Consider using a decking oil to preserve your deck boards.
Get the most out of your garden in the winter months by introducing some heating! Patio heaters and fire pits can help create an outdoor room that extends the life of your garden even when the first frosts bite.