And so we head into the winter months, cold frosty mornings and nights that draw in ever sooner. Me I quite like the end of the year and there is still plenty happening in the garden to keep you busy and warm! One of the most important jobs is to keep on top of the leaves that will start their inevitable journey to the ground, but they make a wonderful soil improver so even if you haven’t got a compost bin half fill some black bin bags, punch a few holes in the bag, you can add a bit of activator if you like to speed the compost process up, and leave in a sheltered area and this time next year wonderfully rich crumbly compost. One of my favourite plants in my garden is Tracleospermum and they have turned a beautiful deep vibrant red with the cold weather and the contrast with the glossy green leaves and fragrant white flowers that they carry most the year make them one of my favourite plants but in the winter months it always sets the mood for the run up to the big day at the end of the year!
Jobs to Do
Use the mower to hoover up leaves and debris just lift the blades
Cut down the herbaceous plants to a few inches tall
Still just time to get you Onions and Garlic in for a head start next year
Avoid walking on the lawn/ grass when frosty
Some like to mulch up borders to help plants through the ravages of winter
Lift and split any perennials if cold enough
Enjoy and embrace the changing season all around you
Leave Parsnips in the ground a frost improves the flavour
Keep on top of the leaves little on often works for me
Top up bird feeders and make sure the bird baths don’t freeze
Down the Plot
Although nothing much is actively growing this time of year unless in a greenhouse, there is no get up on jobs to be done. The Garlics and Onions can still be planted ready to swell early next year, and the cold weather puts us in Rootball/Bareroot season where plants are grown in the ground rather than pots, so all fruit trees and bushes will be readily available to purchase or move for that matter and have a good few months to acclimatise to their new home before the weather warms up. The whole plot can be tidied up, from removing the Rhubarb leaves so the crown can get a good frosting, cutting down your asparagus foliage to ground level, to cutting down the Runner Beans although leave the roots in the ground as they contain a great amount of nitrogen to put back into the soil as they break down over winter. Talking of Runner Beans hopefully you have left some beans on to go brown and dry out so now the time to pop the beans out of the pods and store them in a paper bag ready to use next year you can do this for quite a few years especially useful if you have a variety that is hard to get hold of. Elsewhere I will be adding plenty of compost to beds or areas not being used over winter, I have raised beds and never dig in my compost, but let my worm army do there bit and get it into the ground, and in the open ground I cheat and gently rotovate in or dig a trench and fill with compost and all other compostable and the cover with soil in early spring. Brussels and Kale will be coming into their own now and one thing to do with Brussels is stake them if necessary as they can’t stand having their roots disturbed.
That’s all for now and remember enjoy your garden