How to best prepare your garden for winter

As the exuberant colours fade, autumn becomes a busy time for preparing your garden to do more than survive winter. We’ve put together a few of the best ways to ensure that it produces the best harvest throughout the cold season.

•    Use fallen leaves as compost. Deciduous plants will start losing their leaves during the autumn months. Gather them into a pile and let them rot into a nutritious mould.  You can use them on your plants once they’ve decomposed.

Extra tip: Some leaves may take longer than others to break down so shred them to speed up the process.

READ: Bring life to your garden

•    Remove greenhouse structures. Sunlight becomes increasingly valuable in winter and you want to make the most of the little amount of sunshine. Remove any covers you may have set up in summer. This will allow your plants maximum exposure to absorb the sun.

•    Prepare the soil.  Winter provides the best conditions to grow spring onion, garlic, beans, peas and many more fruits and vegetables. According to The Green Times, soil preparation is critical before planting your winter crops. You'll have to remove summer’s crops, like tomatoes and squash plants, by cutting them at soil level so the roots can decompose and nourish the soil. Do this two weeks before planting new seeds.

READ: What to do in your garden this April

•    Lift tender species. To save those delicate plants like begonias or dahlias, and especially your herbs, you’ll need to lift them from the soil. According to Royal Horticulture Society, these plants can be stored in trays of dry compost or sand (with just the tops visible) in a semi-dormant state throughout winter.

Extra tip: Find out which of your herbs are perennial.  According to Almanac, plants that live for more than two years, such as sage, will survive the winter on their own.

•    Use mulch to protect the soil from hard rain. According to Royal Horticulture Society, mulch protects the soil of bigger and sturdier plants that you can’t necessarily lift from hard rain and soaks up the water to prevent the plant from drowning in all the unexpected water. It also protects against weeds.

READ: What to do in your garden this June

Extra tips: Bark mulch is best for bigger plants since it's chunkier and heavier and won’t be swept away by great gusts of wind. Christine, from Christine’s Garden, recommends using rooibos mulch for younger plants because it’s gentler and won’t disturb the seedling(s).

•    Cover your ponds. Decomposing leaves can pollute your pond water and block pump filters. Cover your pond with a mesh cover-up and secure it down with bricks. Then collect the leaves that have fallen onto it and add them to the compost heap.

Spring is here, and so is the mulch...

A photo posted by Eddington Landscaping (@eddingtonlandscaping) on

READ: Harvesting vegetables

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