While it might seem like our gardens are in hibernation until spring, and there’s nothing to do, you must start planning now to enjoy the new year’s benefits.
We begin the new year with high hopes for the growing season ahead. Although the garden may look worse for wear, the delicate unfurling of a lone snowdrop indicates spring is coming. Yes, we still have to endure another couple of months of winter. Still, in the words of the famous plant biologist and horticulturist Luther Burbank, ‘every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a little miracle.’
With those wise words in mind, let’s go through the tasks required to prepare your garden for spring. If you’re reading this in early January, the first thing to do is recycle and reuse your Christmas tree.
1. Recycle and reuse your Christmas tree
Don’t discard your real Christmas tree. If you can cut it, shredding the tree into chips make excellent compost for ericaceous plants, such as camellias and heathers. Try using the branches left behind to support other plants and vegetables.
2. Protect your plants from frost and snow
While this may be obvious (hopefully, you’ve done this already), frost and snow can damage tender plants, especially those in containers or pots. You can wrap them with horticultural fleece, bubble wrap, or straw to prevent this. You can also move them to a sheltered spot like a greenhouse, shed, or porch.
Alternatively, push the pots into the ground to insulate the soil. Add a thick layer of bark mulch, leaves, or compost for plants already in the ground to protect the roots from freezing. You can also cover the crowns of herbaceous perennials with cloches or pots.
3. Prune your roses and fruit trees
Winter is an excellent time to prune your roses and fruit trees, as they are dormant and less prone to infection. Pruning helps to shape the plants, remove dead or diseased branches, and encourage healthy growth and flowering. For roses, you can cut back the stems by about a third, making a diagonal cut just above an outward-facing bud.
You should remove any crossing, rubbing, or crowded branches for fruit trees and thin out the spurs to improve air circulation and light penetration. Applying a winter wash to fruit trees to kill pests or fungal spores is a good idea.
Winter washing fruit trees involves spraying the tree or bush with a mixture of plant oils diluted with water. You can make this or buy it from a garden centre.
4. Sow seeds indoors
If you want to get a head start on the growing season, you can sow seeds indoors in trays or pots. This way, you can grow plants that need a longer growing period, such as tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, and cucumbers.
You can also sow seeds of hardy annuals, such as calendula, cornflower, and nigella, which will flower earlier than those sown outdoors. You must provide a warm and bright place for your seeds to germinate, such as a windowsill, a heated propagator, or a greenhouse. You must also water them regularly and transplant them to larger pots when they have developed true leaves.
An excellent example is chillies and peppers. Chillies and peppers need a lot of time to grow. You can start them early if you have a warm and bright place, like a heated greenhouse or a sunny spot on your windowsill.
Get a 9cm pot or a seed tray and fill it with compost. Press the compost down to make it flat and firm. Then, put some seeds on top, 1cm away from each other. Sprinkle some more compost over the seeds and water them. Put the pot or tray in a warm place. The seeds should sprout in 8 to 21 days.
When the seedlings have their first real leaves (the ones that look like the leaves of the grown plant, not the seed leaves), move them to their own 9cm pots and water them. Keep the pots in a warm and bright place, like a heated greenhouse or a conservatory. Don’t let the compost dry out.
5. Plan your garden layout and design for winter
Winter is the perfect season to plan your garden layout and design for the following year. Whether you need ground or garden maintenance in Kent or landscaping in Dartford, you can use this time to evaluate and improve your garden.
You can find inspiration and ideas from magazines or our website. You can draw your garden plan on paper or use a software tool to make a digital version, or we can do it for you. You should order seeds, bulbs, and plants online or from your local nursery and get ready for planting by digging in organic matter and removing weeds.
Remember to winterise your garden by protecting your plants from frost and snow, pruning your roses and fruit trees, and sowing seeds indoors. Winter garden maintenance can help you create a beautiful and productive garden for the spring.
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• Landscaping: We can design and install paving, decking, driveways, hardscaping, and fencing to suit your style and budget.
• Garden maintenance: We can cover everything from weeding and mowing to pruning and rubbish clearance. We use eco-friendly methods and are licensed to dispose of waste safely.
• Ground maintenance: We can handle large areas, such as residential blocks of flats and buildings, and keep them neat.
• Winter preparation: We can help you winterise your garden to protect your plants and lawn from frost and snow and create a beautiful winter wonderland in your outdoor space.
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