We are grasping onto the last ounces of sunny, warm(ish) weather, and now your garden will need some attention and preparation for autumn and winter
With the hot summer we have had this year, and the surprise second-budding of your flowers, your garden will have had its work cut out this summer, and is likely now feeling rather exhausted. With the really cold months just around the corner, here are our top tips as to how best to prepare your garden…
Put away garden furniture.
Your outside furniture will have done you proud throughout the summer months, but now you need to ensure it doesn’t all become needlessly wet, rusty, and perhaps even frozen in parts. Pack away any chairs and tables, as well as the barbeque if it’s a movable one, to prevent them all from becoming victims to the elements throughout the winter season. A dedicated storage space or a garage would be ideal places to store them.
The final cut of the grass.
It’s advised that any good gardener should keep their lawn generally well-maintained throughout the winter months, keeping it tidy and well-looked after. Late October or early November is generally the ideal time to give your lawn its final trim before winter hits. However, if you live in a particularly mild area you may be able to get away with topping your grass in December.
Rotting and dying plants and other vegetation in your garden don’t only look untidy, they can also spread disease to other, healthier, plants in the surrounding area. Pests and fungi are also a likelihood with old plants and could incur further problems for your garden. It’s also useful to note that burying old plants in your garden adds organic matter to your soil, which improves soil tilth and overall health.
Regenerate your compost.
A rich heap of compost can go a long way, and can be used to top up garden beds, amend deficient soils, and fertilize lawns. If you’re making way for another batch of compost and cleaning out the previous load, it’s likely to be insulated against winter’s chill, meaning microbes fester for longer into the winter from the warmer months. To prevent the microbes from festering further, compile your autumn compost heap with plenty of autumn leaves, straw or sawdust, layered with kitchen scraps and other active, green matter.
Protect vulnerable plants from frost.
You can protect your low-growing plants from wet weather by covering them with a sheet of glass or a cloche, and surrounding them with a slightly elevated layer of gravel or grit, to ensure swift drainage of any potential rainwater. Some outdoor containers are frost-proof, and it’s advised you use these to prevent them cracking.
Plant cover crops.
Late summer or early autumn is an ideal time of the year to sow crops like rye, vetch and clover because, as well as adding nutrients, such crops as these help prevent soil erosion, break up compacted areas, and increase levels of organic matter in garden beds. Also, one way to increase the levels of available nitrogen for garden vegetables is to plant legumes in your garden, such as clover or field peas. Although some cover crops are hardier than others, it tends to be a general rule of thumb to plant cover crops around one month before your first killing-frost.
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