Households across the UK have become increasingly fond of gardening since the scorching summer lockdown but as the temperatures plummet, stepping out into the cold dark winter weather is far less enticing. The good news is that less is more when it comes to tending to your plants from late November to February – and Express.co.uk have spoken to the gardening experts to find out why.
What to do in the garden in winter
As the harsh winter chill leaves our garden looking bleak, finding the motivation to get outdoors and tend to your garden can seem impossible.
While you shouldn’t completely ‘put your garden to bed’ over the winter, taking it easy on your plants is certainly the way forward as the frost settles.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Sean Lade, managing director at Easy Garden Irrigation said: “Gardening in winter is very different to other seasons and is mainly focused on maintaining the garden through the colder months, rather than implementing any big changes.
“Minimal, yet effective tasks are key to gardening during this season and they are all crucial in order for your garden to flourish in the spring.”
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Prepare for frost and rain
Even the hardiest plants need a little extra warmth this winter, so don’t forget about your potted shrubs and florals.
Wrapping up your most tender and precious plants as soon as possible before the frost hits. Fibre sheets or bubble wrap are great for protecting plants and pots from frost damage if you don’t own a greenhouse to store them in.
Empty your greenhouse
If you do have a greenhouse in your garden or on your allotment it’s the perfect time to begin emptying it before November rolls around.
Garden landscaping expert Tom Trouton told Express.co.uk: “Empty your greenhouse once your tomatoes and cucumbers or any other lovely plant has finished being productive and thoroughly wash the entire greenhouse to remove any potential bugs that may overwinter on your tender plants.”
Now is a great time to start forming green manure – planting green manure such as legumes are a great alternative to composting, says Sean.
He added: “Not only will you have a bright green area for you to look at in your garden during the darkest months but the fast-growing foliage will hold on to the remaining nutrients of the soil like a sponge and keep it safe during the winter so it doesn’t get washed away by any rain.”
You won’t need to prune the foliage until spring which is when you should cut it down, and let it wilt before digging the cuttings into compost. In the spring you simply need to cut it down, Let it decompose for two weeks to release all the nutritional goodness back into the soil ready for pre-summer planting.
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There’s no need to water or feed your plants between November and February, so take time to focus on maintenance instead.
Preparing your garden for spring will secure a beautiful landscape of blooms and evergreen shrubs – but it won’t happen unless you get active over the winter
- Raking and collecting fallen autumn leaves
- Use the fallen leaves to create alternative compost – though be quick as you’ll need to do this before the frost sets in
Spread manure on soil and cover with raked up leaves
Sean added: “Manure is packed with nutrients that plants need, like nitrogen and phosphorus that will help keep plants grow and stay healthy.
“The leaf cover will protect the soil from the harsh winter weather and will break down over time ready for spring.”
Turn off irrigation systems
Your plants don’t need watering during winter, so disconnect irrigation systems from the water supply and bring in the water timers to protect them from frost damage.
If you are able to, drain the water from the irrigation system to protect it from becoming frozen or damaged before you use it again in early spring..