Winter is a balance between getting things cleared away & ready for the next year whilst not being over-zealous about clearing away too much. I’m fond of a natural slightly wayward look, as long as the lawn & the paths are cleared of leaves.
I rather enjoy the repetition of raking up leaves, theres a great satisfaction in revealing all the different elements, paths lawn etc, that have been covered by leaves.
Wildlife appreciate an un-manicured garden, leaving places for them to hide away & seed-heads for birds, giving them much needed energy to survive winter.
With the leaves cleared away & as many as possible stuffed into bags to rot down & turn into leaf-mould, the next thing is to clear away faded old annual plants, leaving any with seed-heads. All this garden debris can go straight into the compost bin to be transformed into garden compost. Theres nothing to loose & everything to gain
- less waste going to Landfill
- no polluting traffic taking waste to Landfill Sites & Council Tips
- best of all, a precious resource is transformed right there in your garden
- less need to buy in soil improver from the Garden Centre, saving money & energy.
My garden never generates enough compost, but every bit helps.
Plant shrubs & trees:
the soil hasn’t become really cold yet, making it a great time to plant shrubs & trees, just as long as the soil isn’t sodden with rain. They’ll have time to put down roots & be better established to cope with dry weather next year.
Move tender plants – banana plants & the like- into the greenhouse, clod-frame or somewhere sheltered, for the winter. Remember to keep an eye on them through winter for pests diseases & give them a little water to keep them going.
Cover tender plants in the garden to keep the winter chill & frost off them. A hessian covering stuffed with straw works well, it keeps the cold out but also allows for a little air circulation. Use fleece if thats what you have to hand.
Plant tulip bulbs this month.
Cover salad leaves with cloches or fleece over hoops, leaving the nets open for ventilation.
I’ve brought pots of mint & chives into the greenhouse over the winter, to keep us supplied with fresh herbs for as long as possible
Prune autumn fruiting raspberries down to a couple of inches above the soil.
Plant garlic if you haven’t done so already.
Sow broad bean seeds, the joy of these is that they’re a crop that’s hared to find in the shops, in anywise they’re much better cooked as soon as they’re picked.
Its a good time to review this past year & plan ahead for next year.
Start by tidying the shed & greenhouse. Its my least favourite thing to do in the garden, but its good to start the year with a sense of order.
With a big mug of tea to hand, get out pen, coloured pencils, highlighters & paper, & decide what flowers & vegetables to grow from seed next year.
Make a simple chart, or draw a plan -this is when highlighters etc are useful – of what needs sowing when, so as to remember it all. Its easy to start the year with enthusiasm & then tail off as time goes by.
Enjoy the ret of the month in your garden.
all photos: Jill Anderson