Very soon, you’ll be swapping al fresco dining for cost evenings in front of the fire. One of the main benefits of living in a country with distinct season changes is that we enjoy different lifestyles throughout the year. Autumn is officially upon us; it’s time to prepare your garden for those cold winter months.
While letting nature take its course might seem like a straightforward solution, if you want to spend more time enjoying your garden during spring and summer, you should prepare your garden to minimise the effects winter will have on your plants.
In this post, we’ll go through some great ways to prepare your garden for winter. But first, how does winter affect your plants?
The Effect of Cold Weather On Plants
If your plants retain water, the cold weather can freeze inside the plant, which means that it will wilt at a later date. Water can also impact the health of your soil, and if you don’t take steps to provide it with extra nourishment, you might have to take action when spring comes around.
Plant enzyme activity can also be a problem, and the winter weather can stunt future growth, so as you can see, it’s essential to take your time to prepare your garden.
The Best Ways to Prepare Your Garden For Winter
You can do many things to prepare your garden for winter, but if you’re limited on time, then it’s always best to prioritise the most important tasks. Below, we’ve listed the six things you should do to protect your soil and plants through the winter season.
Get Rid of Your Weeds
Weeds are a nuisance at any time of the year, but keeping on top of them can save you a lot of time when the spring sunshine returns. Make an effort to dig the weeds up and place them in a garden bin.
As an invasive plant type, you can’t use weeds in your compost heap, so it’s best to dispose of the weeds completely once you remove them.
If you don’t remove your weeds properly, they’ll either grow back or damage your other plants.
Do The Same With Diseased Plants
Plants have a natural life, and some can still benefit your soil when they reach the end of their cycle. When healthy plants rot, the nutrients go into the earth, encouraging faster growth when the spring weather hits.
You should always treat diseased plants as weeds and get rid of them. Whether it’s due to fungus or pests, a diseased plant causes issues with your soil, so make an effort to bin them.
Don’t Neglect Your Compost or Mulch
Just because winter is coming, it doesn’t mean you should forget about your compost pile. Any materials harvested during the summer can be used to add extra protection to your plants in the winter – and ignite their growth as soon as spring hits.
Autumn is also the best season for collecting leaves and adding them to your compost bin. Clear out the container by adding your ready compost to your flower beds, and you can leave your autumn collections to mix during the winter.
You can also use mulching to regulate the soil temperature during the colder months, which is particularly useful if you grow vegetables. By adding protection to your soil, you’ll have less work to do in the spring.
Include Cover Crops
Winter is a harsh season, and it can harm your soil, but taking the time to prepare in autumn means you’ll have much less work to do. Few people realise that they can sow cover crops, such as clover, rye or vetch to prevent soil erosion.
All of these crops will also add essential nutrients to the soil, which increases its organic matter.
Ideally, it would be best to sow cover crops towards the end of summer or early autumn to get the best results.
Look at How Successful Your Growing Season Was
As the growing season ends, you should take some time to reflect on your efforts and look at which plants and vegetables grew successfully. In many cases, you can relocate underperforming plants to sunnier areas of your garden to help them flourish.
Sometimes, the position of your garden causes the most problems, so there’s not much you can do except learn from the experience and choose more appropriate plants for the next growing season.
If you’d like to enjoy a more successful growing season next year but aren’t sure about how to get started, our garden planning services give you a step-by-step guide on which plants will flourish in your garden and how to prep your soil correctly.
Take Care Of Your Equipment
As the summer season comes to a halt and autumn begins, you should take some time to clean your gardening tools so they’re ready for next year. Most gardening equipment can be susceptible to rusting, but washing the dirt and debris can prolong its lifespan.
If there is any rust, you can use sandpaper to remove it, and a mill file will sharpen your tools. Once each tool is clean, add some machine oil to a rag and wipe it over the surface of each tool.
Purchasing garden equipment can become expensive, but by taking the time to maintain your tools, you’ll save a lot of money on replacing them later.
Whether you love winter or dread it, taking the time to prepare your garden, plants and tools this autumn ensures that you’ll be ready to enjoy spring when it appears.
Small steps can make a significant difference to the state of your outdoor space after winter, so if you want to enjoy the warm weather as soon as it hits, use the next couple of weeks to get your garden winter-ready.
Please feel free to add your comments if you found this post useful, as we always love hearing from our green-fingered community.
Don’t forget to check out our post on extraordinary examples of English gardening. You’ll be inspired by genuinely breathtaking landscaping techniques that define what makes a British garden truly special.