Winter is upon us, and while a lot of families have already decorated their home and put the Christmas tree in the living room, there is still a lot more to do. But unfortunately, it’s not Christmas related! As the winter period approaches – or has already settled in, depending on where you live in the UK – there’s still time before the end of the year to prepare your garden for the cold months. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can leave your garden untouched until the first swallows of spring. Just like your skin needs a better protection against the cold temperatures, your garden needs to be prepared to hibernate so that it can bloom back to life in March. So give your beloved plants some attention this week: they’ll grow stronger for it.
Protect your plants
If you’ve been actively embracing the idea of growing your own vegetables this year, you need to know that you can’t just let your productive garden go back to sleep during winter. While sowing and harvesting are primarily seasonal jobs – with a few exceptions – there are in fact plenty of plants that are still growing right now to be ready for harvest in March or April. These need to be protected from the cold. While you can’t control the climate, you have two options: you can either choose to take some of your plants in pots inside the house, or you can choose a handy greenhouse to do the work for you. What vegetables can you keep in the greenhouse? As a rule of the thumb, you want to focus your attention on early harvest plants, such as lettuces, tomatoes, courgettes, peppers and beans. Some can be harvested as early as in March.
Protect your garden from bad weather
The MET Office has warned us: this winter is going to be the coldest since 2010. In other words, you can expect high winds, snow and frost over most of the country. So now is a good time to change your old fencing panels for something sturdy that can face the harsh weather conditions. Additionally, if you’re keeping garden furniture, you need to place everything into your garden shed or garage during the winter, and that includes wooden chairs, tables and lounges. What you can keep outside is metal furniture, such as a metal bench. However, if you do, you need to make sure that it’s got a protective varnish coat.
What can I plant now?
Finally, there are plants that you can sow in the late autumn or early winter. Broad beans and asparagus are great for the season as they take less work than expected during these cold months. You can also plant cloves of garlic and bulbs of onions directly into the cold soil; the cold temperature is part of the growing process. Winter lettuce and lambs lettuce are ideal for sowing through the winter, but you should stay under the greenhouse for these!
In short, you still need to invest some time and effort in garden maintenance in winter. But the good news is that you won’t need to worry about a big spring cleaning in March or April. You’ll get a fully functional garden, and you’ll be just in time to harvest your first plants!