It’s that time of the year when the garden starts to wind down ready for the coming winter months. The leaves start to fall from the trees, the lawn starts to get worn casts in it and the perennials are making their way back to the earth.
You might be looking at your garden now and thinking – oh, it looks sorry for itself. It doesn’t need to be though.
Here are my 8 tips for getting your garden up to scratch and ready for winter so you can sit back and start planning for next year’s garden adventures:
- Clear away the flowers – if you haven’t already pull up your summer bedding plants. Anything that won’t come back next year now needs to be added to either your compost heap (if the plants were disease free), or add them to your garden waste bin. Getting rid of what you don’t need allows you to see all the space you have available in the garden.
- Clean up the gold, aka the leaves – this job can be really satisfying, but don’t try doing it on a windy day! Rake them from the lawns, collect them from the corners of the garden and add them to a big pile. That way you can either create yourself a leaf mold by using black plastic sacks (make holes in the bottom to ensure drainage), or add them to your compost bin. Nothing makes better nutrients for your soil than leaves.
- Cut the grass for the last time – on a dry day set your lawn mower blades to their highest setting and give the grass one last mow before the frost start. Taking off less from the grass height at this time of year ensures it’s survival over winter from harsh weather. I tend to fence the lawn off now to ensure my Jack Russell, Mouse, (or anyone else for that matter) doesn’t have access to it. Having a female dog use the lawn over winter can really put it’s toll on the grass. It also prevents messy paws and feet romping through the house. Don’t worry the fence comes down again March 😉
- Get your bulbs in – now is the perfect time to plant bulbs. Don’t leave it too late else you’ll be trying to plant in frozen soil which makes life a lot harder. Plant a bulb anywhere and every where. Don’t worry about space, or how many you pack into the space. The bulbs will sort themselves out as they go.
- Clean up your bird feeding areas. There is nothing worse than scraping old bits of seed and bird poo off peanut holders when it’s freezing cold outside. Do it now and fill your feeders up. Cleaning the area that the feeders sit on helps to prevent the build up of diseases so make sure you either hoe, rake or splash the ground all around too.
- Pot plants – Move any frost susceptible potted plants to a more sheltered position, move them inside (if allowed). It’s the roots of the plant that need protecting from the harsh weather so if you can’t move the pot try and cover the pot in bubble wrap. As the weather turns snowy some pot plants may also need further fleece protection over the top, but keep a check on the plants underneath to make sure mold doesn’t set in.
- Raspberries – Cut down your raspberry canes that fruited this year. Leave any canes that popped up this year for fruiting next.
- Catalogues – Don’t forget to order your seed catalogues, or for those you can’t get through the post create a new favorites folder online. Collect and store them online. That way you’ll have them all in one place for ideas and reference.
Don’t feel overwhelmed by the garden. Just do what you can when you can. Sometimes, like last weekend it was constant rain and lashing wind which meant time spent indoors. The next week the sun came out I couldn’t wait to head outside again – even if the days are slightly cooler now.
Do want you want to do but hopefully those tips above will get you started.
If you’ve got great autumn tips from your garden, please share below.
Cover photo courtesy of Ling H