Doing my best to avoid the winter is coming reference, winter is almost here and there’s plenty of work to be done in ensuring that your garden is fully prepared for the winter ahead.
As annual vegetables are coming towards the end of their lifespan and frosts are taking hold, it’s easy to take a break from your garden for the winter and come back to it in the spring. Take it from someone who makes the same mistake most years, this is never the mentality to take.
When spring finally comes back around there’s no better feeling than being ready for the year ahead with a large part of the effort already taken care of.
Remove all of the spent vegetable plants
Perhaps one of the most important garden tasks going into the winter is removing all of this years vegetable plants. The very last thing you want to do is leave the plants to rot in decay, leaving a multitude of potential issues for the next year of growing.
Disease and pest populations will be very grateful to you if you choose to leave your old plants through the winter.
It’s essential that all vegetable plants are pulled and cleared from the garden pretty much as soon as they begin to die. You also have the added benefit of reusing the old plants by burying them into your garden. When burying old plants into your garden you are providing great organic matter to your soil which greatly improves the overall health.
Cover your garden soil
Another classic mistake is leaving the soil bare throughout all the elements of the winter. If left exposed, the winter will erode pretty much any valuable garden soil as well as allowing weeds lie in wait for the spring.
If possible, covering the entire garden with a cover crop will leave your garden ready and in the perfect condition coming out of winter.
While a cover crop is the ideal scenario, this isn’t feasible for a lot (majority) of people. Not too worry though, there are alternatives! Most people actually just choose to simply cover their garden soil with a large tarp. Another method is to cover the garden in a thick layer of leaves.
Whatever method you choose, I promise you will see the benefits come spring!
Add Berry Patches
While obviously not an essential step to preparing your garden for winter; it’s fun all the same and helps it feel a lot less doom and gloom! Keep the joy of growing rolling right through winter with berry patches.
The first step to preparing you berry patch is to decide what type of berries you want to grow. You can have a variety of raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and blueberries or just focus on your favorite few.
If you’re looking for an easy plant, strawberry plants are by far the easiest to plant and grow. Simply plant them in a good quality compost and cover the roots. Water them as standard and away you go.
Planting berry bushes is a little trickier and some require different soils so it’s best to do your research before advancing forward.
Winter Garden Maintenance
Now lets cover a few maintenance top tips which will help you keep your garden healthy during the winter.
Turn off any water supplies
Before it gets frosty, it’s crucial that you remember to turn off any watering systems. You can easily avoid any hose or tap malfunctions by ensuring that there are no drips or leaks before the frost sets in.
Look after your winter garden friends
Now that your garden is all set for winter and prepared for the cold; don’t forget to look after your garden helpers. Give birds a good feeding routine, water and a bird bath to help maintain the garden wildlife.
Another good way to keep a wildlife friendly garden is to compost. Check out our blog posts on composting to find out more about all the benefits as well as how to get started making your own compost pile.
Mulch your garden
This ties in with covering your garden soil but it’s so beneficial that we couldn’t resist adding it in again. Creating a mulch to cover your soil over the winter is one of the best things you can do for your garden.
The best way to create a mulch is to take all your fallen leaves from the autumn and place them through a mulcher / shredder. You can then leave them to rot. Check out our blog post on how to create a leaf mould from scratch.
A good healthy leaf mould protects your winter garden from weeds and provides invaluable nutrients to the soil, plants, vegetables and flowers.