The cold weather is well and truly making its mark now, but there’s still plenty to be done in the garden to keep it ticking over through the harsher, winter months.
Winter can be a tough time for birds. The good news, though, is you can help by making sure they have access to plenty of food and fresh water. Simply keep bird baths clean and topped up with water, making sure they don’t freeze over. And for some food – they’ll all come flocking if you keep bird feeders regularly topped up.
How about trying your hand at making your own feeder? All you’ll need is a slice of stale bread, peanut butter, bird seed and some string. Simply make a hole in the top of the bread and thread a piece of string through then tie at one end so it’s secure to the bread. Make sure the string is long enough to allow you to hang it from a tree or other bird-friendly place. Then spread the bread with peanut butter and press it face down into the bird seed. It’s that easy – all you have to do now is hang it outside and let the local birds flock to your garden!
Protect your plants
Now’s the time to cover tender plants or move them to a sheltered spot if you can. A greenhouse can be a fantastic investment for over-wintering plants that need it and a great addition to any garden. And they don’t need to cost the earth. Either way, it’s important to protect your plants now before the first frost strikes. Some tender shrubs and plants will benefit from being wrapped in bubble wrap or fleece. And a simple layer of mulch like well-rotted manure or bark around herbaceous perennials will help keep roots protected too.
Protect trees from moths
Winter moths can reduce the amount of fruit you’ll get off trees such as plum, apple, pear and cherry as they climb up your tree and lay their eggs. Their caterpillars will then feed on buds come spring time, which can reduce the amount of fruit you’ll get. One really effective and pesticide free way of keeping your trees protected is by putting a grease band around the trunk of your tree in October or November. They can make a big difference and are so easy to pop on.
Give greenhouses and sheds some TLC
Now’s the perfect time to make best use of all your indoor storage – and that includes both greenhouses and sheds if you’re lucky enough to have them in your outdoor space. Pop up some shelving and hooks to give you better incentive to keep things like tools and seeds/bulbs tidy.
If you haven’t already, and your shed or greenhouse is looking a little worse for wear, you’ll want to address any repair jobs before it gets too cold and wet out there making the problem/s worse. Give sheds a lick of exterior paint and repair any rotten wood. For the greenhouse, you’ll want to be repairing any broken panes of glass. And to help banish any diseases that might be lingering around, now’s also a good time to give your greenhouse a clean from top to bottom with some horticultural disinfectant. These might not be the most exciting jobs in the garden but you’ll be thankful you got them all sorted when it’s snowing or sleeting and everything you have inside is nicely protected!
Have a good tidy up
It’s not just your greenhouse or shed that’ll benefit from a good tidy but also your garden as a whole. Rake leaves, cut back yellow foliage from herbaceous perennials and clear the veg patch of any plants way past their best. If you’ve found yourself with some empty space in your veg patch, apply some fresh manure on top to rot down over winter, which will fill your soil with loads of nutrients. If your beds are looking a little more sparse, take advantage by edging your lawn while things are a little quieter!
Anytime from now up until early Feb, you can also get to pruning pear and apple trees.
Fruit and veg
- Plant bare-rooted fruit brushes and canes (delay planting if soil is water-logged or frozen)
- Sow overwintering broad beans in mild areas
- Plant garlic cloves in a cold frame
- Plant tulip bulbs
- Clear fallen leaves
- Clean up borders
- Last planting for winter bedding
- Plant bare-rooted trees and shrubs
- Clean greenhouses
- Clean and maintain tools
- Plan hard landscaping jobs
- Drain garden hoses and store away
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