Gardening with Children

Family Zone

Prepare your garden for Winter

Date Posted: 01 November 2016

 

Make Leaf Mould Compost

Fallen leaves can be a nuisance, put them to good use and turn them into wonderful nutrient rich leaf mould, rake them up (often easier when they are damp) and store them for 12/14 months to rot down, keep the leaves damp and turn them occasionally, shredding the leaves first will speed things up. If you have a small amount place them in Jute Leaf Sacks which will rot down too, medium quantities can be stored in a Jumbo Leaf Mould Compost Bin, for large quantities store in a Wooden Leaf Mould Compost Bin, if this gets full simply add an extension module, invest in a pair of Handy Hands Leaf Collectors to make the job easier.

Jute Leaf Composting Sacks

Empty your Compost Bins

You may have accumulated a lot of waste vegetation over the last 12 months, now is the time to empty your compost bins and spread the well-rotted compost in a thick layer over your empty vegetable beds and on your flower borders, during the winter the worms will draw it into the soil for you. Return any garden waste that has not rotted down to the compost bin and cover with a Compost Duvet to retain heat and keep your compost worms warm and active, whilst empty replace any damaged boards or posts, allow to dry out and retreat with a preservative, it is a good idea to turn your boards inside out to extend their life.

Harvest and store any remaining crops

Harvest any remaining crops and store them somewhere cool and airy, check them regularly and remove any that show signs of rotting. Store each type of fruit separately, place on slatted shelves in a wooden fruit store or in stacking wooden crates that will allow air to circulate. Lay fruits in a single layer, not touching each other and handle carefully to avoid bruising. Wrapping apples individually in newspaper or tissue paper can help them keep longer but can be a hindrance when checking the fruit. Pears tend to ripen quicker especially in warmer temperatures, it is advisable to remove any ripe fruit as it can speed up the ripening of the remaining fruit.  Carrots, Beetroots and Swedes store well, cut off the leafy tops and place them in a single layer in wooden crates covered in sand or peat to prevent them from drying out and becoming rubbery. Parsnips can be left in the ground; their flavour will sweeten with the frost.

Tubby Stack Pack Wooden Storage Boxes and Crates

Re-organise the shed

Sheds are designed for storage but can soon get cluttered up especially in winter when they become homes for the garden furniture, BBQ and stored fruit/vegetables, if you have a free day have a good clear out and re-organise your potstools and gardening equipment, be ruthless throw away anything that’s broken or hasn’t been used. Clean and maintain your tools and equipment, take the lawnmower in for a service ready for Spring, sharpen secateurs, shears, knives and loppers and oil all the metal parts to prevent rust forming, apply a coat of Linseed Oil to wooden handles, and finally make some room so that you can do repairs or jobs out of the cold and wet.

Adjustable Tool Rack

Clean the greenhouse

Once your greenhouse crops have finished, place the foliage in your compost bin and the spent compost on the borders or vegetable beds. To reduce the problem of over wintering pests and diseases de-clutter and remove everything, give the glass a good clean inside and out with a mild disinfectant, wash the stagingscrub the floor then rinse down, bring everything back in, open the windows and doors fully and keep well ventilated until it has thoroughly dried out, pots and trays can be cleaned later on. Tender Plants can be brought in and stored for the winter, check and remove any pests that may want to come too!

Hortisept Pro Garden Disinfectant

Tidy up the flower garden

Cut back plants that have finished flowering to about 6cm high, leave foliage for overwintering insects and creatures and seed heads, which look attractive covered in dew or frost, which will provide food for birds. Spread a thick layer of compost around the plants from your compost bin, tie up and support any tall plants and young trees that may suffer from strong winds or heavy snow. Don’t be too tidy, leave a corner of your garden to go wild you may want to make a log pile or a small compost heap for creatures and insects, or put a Bee or Insect House in a dry sheltered position which will provide a winter retreat for the many beneficial insects in your garden.

Insect Conservation Study Centre

Insect Conservation Study Centre

Look after your lawn

Lawns can often suffer in winter when the weather is wet or frosty, place Duck Boards on well-trodden paths and if possible move about to allow the grass underneath to recover.

Feed the birds

In Winter birds need extra food to keep themselves warm and survive the cold weather especially when the ground is frozen or covered in snow or water over long periods. It is very important to put food out regularly, birds use up a lot of their energy looking for food, they will return to a reliable supply of food on an almost daily basis, if that supply is not there they will waste valuable energy searching elsewhere. It is a good idea to put out a wide variety of food such as Peanuts, Sunflower Seeds and Hearts, Fat Balls and Cakes, Nyjer Seeds and Seed mixes, in different types of feeders which will attract and feed a large selection of birds.

Guardian Seed Feeder

Bird Baths are equally as important providing your birds with a supply of fresh water for drinking and bathing, they should been cleaned out regularly and replaced with fresh water daily. For more information about feeding your garden birds click here.

Coniston Bird Bath

Make homes for wildlife

Spare a thought for the creatures in our gardens, they are increasing relying on us to provide food and homes for them as their natural habitats decline.

Hedgehogs hibernate during the winter and need a safe, dry and warm place to pass the cold winter months, they hibernate when the temperatures become and remain low which is usually in November or December, they need to eat well and put on weight to sustain them during hibernation. Put a Hedgehog House in a quiet area of your garden and a bowl of Hedgehog food to help them gain weight as well as a supply of fresh water.

Hedgehog Igloo House from Wildlife World

As well as Hedgehogs, Frogs, Toads and Newts make a great contribution in reducing the pests in our gardens; their main diet consists of slugs, snails and insects, as the weather turns colder they will be looking for a safe retreat for the winter, place a Frogitat or a frog and toad bunker near the pond or in a shady, damp corner.

Frogitat - Ceramic Frog and Toad House

Although we rarely see them, in the UK we have 18 different species of Bats, the largest is the Noctule and the smallest is the Pipistrelle, they hibernate from November to March and roost on their own or in small groups in attics, disused buildings, tunnels, bridges, caves, or old trees but due to modern housing and redevelopment their roosting sites are diminishing, Bats boxes can be attached to the sides of building and on trees and will provide a safe winter retreat. For more information about helping the wildlife in your garden click here.

Wildlife World Conservation Bat Box 

 

  

Site By: Chamber Internet