It’s time for winter garden chores:
Christmas is over and we’re beginning a new year and it’s time for Winter chores. While we take down the decorations, let’s not forget that although are gardens seem dormant right now, there’s work to be done before Spring arrives.
If you want to have a garden that looks its best from early Spring right through to next Winter, a little planning will go a long way towards helping you achieve that goal.
Here’s a quick run down of things that you can do now:
1. Make a garden map:
If you’re a beginner gardener, don’t panic! We can help you. All you need to do is draw out your garden shape as best you can with rough measurements. Make a note of what plants you have in each area. If you don’t know the plant names, take some pictures.
This map will give you some idea of the canvas you have available. An overview of what’s already filling the space is useful so that you can decide if you want to replace anything (or everything).
2. Decide how much time you have to garden. Do you have time and enjoy pottering around and work with plants, or do you have a very limited amount of time? The answers to these questions will help decide what kind of plants will work best for you.
3. Do you want to grow flowers from seeds or do you want to plant ‘ready made’? If you’d like to plant seeds, then you’ll need to begin buying those seeds now so that you can start them off inside. By the time Spring arrives, the seedlings will be ready to transplant outdoors.
4. Do you want year round colour? How about evergreens?
Once you’ve thought about these things, it’s time for you to come in and discuss your wish list with us. We’ll be able to look at your sketch and your wish list and give you ideas and advice about how to begin.
No matter what your goals, though, if you have a garden, there are certain chores that you’ll need to tackle now, before the growing season.
Here’s a basic list of winter garden chores:
1. Prune and tidy.
You’ll want to prune the shrubs and trees that have become a bit ragged or overgrown. If you’re not sure how to prune or which plants require pruning, we’ll be happy to help you based on your sketch and the list of plants you already have in your garden. Pruning can be tricky and some shrubs, such as certain Hydrangeas, don’t need pruning. In fact, pruning can mean that they will not flower as they only flower on old wood.
Tidy up the garden by picking up dead wood and leaves that have accumulated over the Fall. Not only does this make your garden look tidier, it also helps protect plants from disease. You can throw all this ‘waste’ into a compost heap to use for mulching.
2. Feed the soil.
It’s a good idea to enrich the soil during winter by adding mulch. Mulch creates a rich, nutrient filled humus which will help nourish the plants come Spring. Mulch can contain composted leaves, grass clippings, straw and even seaweed. If you don’t have your own, you can get mulch from us.
3. Make your own Compost.
Making your own compost is easy to do and it means that next year, you’ll be able to provide your own mulch. Compost can be made using all kinds of organic scrap such as food and garden waste such as the old leaves and wood you’ve cleared from your garden. This is all collected in a pile and over time it will begin to break down and form compost. It’s best to either build or buy some kind of container in which to compost. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it can be as simple as some chicken wire or wooden bins. If you have a few different containers, you can make compost that’s at different stages of readiness which can be useful.
4. Add lime.
We have heavy rainfall here and this tends to make our soil acidic. Unless you are planning on growing plants that like acidic soil, such as potatoes, strawberries and blueberries, you’ll want to balance the soil pH by adding lime. You can add lime during winter and early spring.
If you take care of these simple chores now, you’ll be ready in February to begin the next step in your gardening adventure!