A well-tended garden is every homeowner’s pride and joy. Looking after your garden is no easy feat in the warm months, but it becomes especially tedious when the temperature drops and you no longer feel like stepping outdoors and getting your hands dirty. Even though the period of autumn and winter may appear to be gardening free times of the year, we assure that your personal paradise needs some tending to. Armed with our tips for the winters, there’s no way your garden is going to be neglected this year.
Tidy Up and Weed Out
Though the warmer months, many plants have flourished and then died out. What’s now left is a scraggly mess of balding stems, twigs, and weeds that seem live forever no matter what the season! Pull up those pesky weeds and burn the plants that are diseased. Tidying up the garden promotes healthy growth of the existing plants and opens up new spots for fresh planting. When you see your garden prim and proper, you will be geared up to go on a winter planting spree!
Check your compost pits. The ones you started a couple of months back must be ready to harvest now. Take it out for immediate use to replenish your garden soil with rich mineral nutrients. The fall and winter months are a good time to start a new composting cycle since there’s a lot of organic matter at hand to jump-start the process. Add leaves that are found a-plenty this season, old plant matter, kitchen waste, and sawdust, give it a good stir and done. But take care not to add infected plants nor weeds, otherwise, this will spoil your entire batch of compost.
Plant, Prune, Replant
Prepare your bulbs so that they’re ready to flower for the spring. Gently dig up the bulbs that died way back in summer and replant them in another chosen spot in your garden. This will have them germinating and ready to bloom by spring. This is perfectly okay if winter frosts are not an occurrence where you live.
However, in regions where winter can be harsh and frost is common, you will have to identify a space which is dark, like a shed or a back room. Store the bulbs you dug up in a tray which has dry compost. The bulbs should be covered with just their crowns showing. Come spring, they will be dying to burst into blooms.
Autumn is the perfect time to plant winter vegetables if you have a little kitchen garden patch. Go for Brussel sprouts, spinach, baby carrots, and peas. All this love and care will be rewarded real soon. And as you look upon your hard work with a hot drink in hand, you will find yourself smiling every time you look at your garden.
Mulching is Vital
Mulch provides the much-needed protection to the soil from the various elements that can harm it. A healthy layer of mulch keeps pests away. Without it, they would settle into the soil, lying in wait to launch an attack just as the soil warms up and new plants start growing.
It may seem that winter can go ahead without mulching, but that would be a misstep. Mulch helps insulate the soil from harsh frost and thus maintains soil temperature throughout the cold season as it slowly disintegrates into mineral rich organic matter to join the soil itself. That’s why It’s time for a fresh layer of mulch all around. While the easier option is to pick up a bag of mulch from the local nursery, you can also create mulch at home by mixing sawdust, coconut husk, or shredded newspaper to your compost. Spread it around your garden generously and watch it transform into a smart field displaying its trophies proudly.
Lawns are the prime feature of any garden. Small or large, they’re essential to making your lawn winter-ready so that they continue to delight you into the spring and summer months.
Begin by clearing any moss growth you may find in shaded areas like under trees and hedges. Use a spring-tined rake to vigorously scrub off moss patches while you rake up other other debris like cut grass and fallen leaves. Areas which tread upon more frequently can become compacted and need to have air circulation channels opened. Use a garden fork to dig into such areas. Spear the surface and go as deep as you can and gently wiggle back out. This improves aeration and drainage. Feed your lawn with autumn fertilizers that are high in potash and phosphates to promote healthy root development which will, in turn, lead to healthy leaf growth. Come spring, get ready to be blown away by how perfect your lawn is.
All in all, there is no doubt that gardening is therapeutic. So follow these basic steps for a healthy winter garden and you will be beaming with pride and delight as your garden thanks you profusely in the form of a verdant beauty show like no other in your neighborhood. Merry gardening to you!
Picture Credits: Argos, QueComen, Palmers, Ozgurcoskun, Yard Care