Winter gardening: how to prepare the garden
Now is the time to sort out the garden and protect it from harsh winter weather. The preparation you do now will put you in good stead for when spring arrives. Here are a few tips to help you prepare the garden for winter
There isn't a lot happening in the garden during the winter months but it is a great opportunity to have a tidy-up and a clean, and to prepare for the gardening season ahead. Here's a few useful tasks for you to do in the garden before the cold winter weather descends, with recommendations for handy equipment.
Clearing away debris
During the season, clutter builds up in the garden. Old supports, mouldy netting and broken pots need to be cleared away, and forgotten vegetables need to be pulled out and composted. Leaves will have scattered themselves across the garden and need raking up. Use a broom with hard-wearing bristles, such as the Swedish Broom from Objects of Use (£18.50, objectsofuse.com), that are perfect for removing stubborn, damp leaves from paving or decking. If leaves cover vegetable beds or borders, leave them be; they are a great natural option for mulch and add nutrients to the soil.
Spruce up your paving slabs
Use a pressure washer to blast away the growth that accumulates on wet stone, which can become slippery and unsightly when left for too long. The Titan Pressure Washer from Screwfix is a good option (£49.99, screwfix.com). It's also worth taking some time to clean the space between the slabs with a small paving brush. This will give your patio or path a more professional appearance.
Put out bird feed
The wildlife in the garden need as much help as possible through the winter months. Remember to top up bird feeders with seeds and nuts to keep the birds happy. If you don't have a bird feeder, try upcycling one from a cup and saucer!
Clean out and tidy pots
You might have some seeds growing in pots in the greenhouse already, but unused pots could do with a good clean out with a flowerpot brush, Oxford Brush Company (pictured) for a sturdy option. Tidying and sorting your pots allows you to see what you have and what you need for the season ahead and it's a good opportunity to check your pots for damage - any that are broken or starting to crack can be used as crocks in the spring.
Sharpen your tools
Garden tools have a hard life but if you keep them in peak condition they will continue to be a pleasure to use and will remain sharp and efficient for many years. Use the darker days to clean and oil up wooden handles, file and re-shape edges and sharpen blades with a diamond sharpener or sharpening stone. Click here for a more detailed guide on how to care for garden tools.
Cut back untidy branches
Check pruning times for individual trees and shrubs but for many winter is the perfect opportunity. Once the last of their leaves have been shed, cut back any branches that hang too low or look untidy. The lack of foliage allows you to see the full shape of the tree so you can prune it back to your preferred shape and size. Niwaki have a great range of shears, secateurs and pruning saws.
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