Preparing Your Garden For Winter

[Music] This time of year is usually considered a
quiet time for gardeners but there are plenty of essential jobs
to keep us busy. We’ll take you through some of the most important. It can be tempting to let nature take
its course and leave dead or dying plants where they are, and clear up what’s left of them in the spring, but by doing so you be lending a helping hand to many pests. Slugs and snails for example will
happily feast on this material, giving them a head start on damaging
precious seedlings next spring. Other pests will overwinter on organic
debris so by removing the dead material it
removes their habitat, leaving the soil exposed so that winter
weather and predators such as birds can naturally keep them in
check. Most of this material can be composted, turning this season’s waste into next
season’s organic matter. Diseased material should be removed
promptly at any time of the year, and this is no exception. Doing so
reduces the chance of spreading diseases, especially ones such as blight and club
root. Diseased material should be disposed of through municipal green waste collections where they exist as these use heat to break down the
material. Alternatively, you can burn them at home. It’s also a good time of year to tackle
those perennial weeds and other unwanted plants which are
prolific spreaders, like ivy, or self-seeders like poppies. Dig them, pull them,
or chop them, taking care to remove as much of the stems
and roots as you can. Doing this now will weaken the plants,
making them more susceptible to winter weather By the time spring comes, it will be
easier to see which ones still need your attention. As with diseased material, avoid
composting perennial weeds, and burn them instead. Current gardening wisdom is not to be
too tidy however. Make sure there are areas of your garden
where predators can overwinter, such as a bug hotel, and it’s okay to
leave some crops in the ground to self-seed to provide food for beneficial insects
and animals, and to ensure there are some early flowers in your garden in the
spring to provide an early source of nectar. Burning garden waste which cannot be composted or put to other good use can still provide a valuable product for your garden – ash. And a fire will give you great satisfaction to easily get rid of diseased and woody material and weeds. Wood ash, as opposed to coal ash, can be a
great addition to the garden. It contains potassium in the form of
potash, which is a vital nutrient for crops. Ash is alkaline, so take care when using
it on your soil Use small amounts in your compost,
especially if you compost lots of acidic material like citrus peel, or use it as a substitute for lime such
as adding to a bed where you’ll be growing brassicas to reduce the risk of club root. It is also an excellent supplement for fruiting plants, bushes and trees such as apples, raspberries and tomatoes. Most sheds and outbuildings will benefit from some maintenance and repair before the winter. Check for and fix any loose or rotten
boards, and make sure that door hinges are in good order to help eliminate drafts. Sharpen and oil the blades of gardening
tools. After a season of use, they can become dull and ineffective. Vegetable oil works just as well as more
expensive and less environmentally-friendly oils and it can also be rubbed into the wooden
handles of tools. Wash seed trays, pots, labels and other garden equipment and allow them to dry to avoid the
spread of molds before storing them. With weeds and all plants removed, it’s a
great time to dig over your plot, and incorporate organic matter such as
compost, ready for spring planting. The winter weather, particularly freezing and thawing action, will break down the organic matter kill overwintering pests, and will help
to break down heavy clay and improve its structure and drainage. Many fruit trees and bushes can be pruned now, so check which varieties you have and
the best way to care for them. Make sure that stakes and ties on existing
fruiting plants are in good condition, and tie in or stake new growth to prevent
it from being damaged by the wind. Pots and containers should be moved to
sheltered areas and if temperatures are regularly below
freezing in your location make sure they are raised off the ground and
wrapped in bubble wrap or sacking to prevent the pot from cracking. Other frost-sensitive plants can be put in a cold frame or glass house where they will stay until spring. And in many areas you are likely to have crops growing through the winter, such as oriental leaves, some root
vegetables or brassicas. Clear away leaves and other debris, check
netting is in good repair or install protection in the form of row
covers – see our video on extending the growing season for more details. At the end of the growing season it can
be tempting to leave the garden behind and retreat to the warmth of indoors. But, by tackling some of these tasks, you’ll be getting a headstart for the next season ready for the excitement of spring. [Music]

12 thoughts on “Preparing Your Garden For Winter

  1. Thanks for sending me this link to my email. It came just in time. We are expecting our first freeze here in Atlanta 11/12/2013. I still have tomatoes peppers lettuce radishes collards and kale growing

  2. Thank you for the information. Do you recommend planting a cover crop of rye or hairy vetch? I have been doing that, I'm not sure if it helps, but it greatly adds to the spring work since the cover crop must be turned over.

  3. 1.09 Any respectable gardener will have compost at a high enough heat to kill these. Best to buy horticultural bubblewrap as double side but free stuff better then nothing?! Is this a no dig garden :confused: Teach compost, not burning!

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