Winter is often seen as a time of dormancy in the garden, with not much to do aside from hunkering down indoors and waiting for spring. However, there are several tasks that can and should be done in the winter months to ensure a healthy and flourishing garden come spring.
Here are just a few ideas to get you started.
1. Clean up debris
Winter is a great time to clear away any dead leaves, twigs, and other debris that has accumulated in your garden beds over the growing season. Removing this debris not only tidies up the garden, but it also helps to prevent pests and diseases from overwintering in the soil and plants.
2. Prune shrubs and trees
Pruning is an essential winter gardening task, as it helps to shape and maintain the overall structure of your shrubs and trees. In general, it’s best to prune deciduous plants (those that lose their leaves in the winter) while they are dormant, as this will reduce the risk of infection and encourage new growth come spring.
3. Divide and replant perennials
Many perennials, such as hostas and daylilies, benefit from being divided every few years to prevent them from becoming overcrowded. Winter is a good time to dig up and divide these plants, as they are not actively growing and can be easily transplanted.
4. Protect tender plants
If you have any plants that are not hardy enough to withstand the cold winter temperatures, be sure to protect them with a layer of mulch or by moving them indoors. Potted plants can be placed in front of a sunny window or under grow lights to keep them healthy throughout the winter.
5. Plant winter-hardy vegetables
Some vegetables, such as garlic, kale, and radishes, can be planted in the winter and will actually thrive in the cooler temperatures. Planting these crops now will give you a head start on the growing season and provide you with fresh produce in the early spring.
6. Start seeds indoors
If you have a greenhouse or a sunny windowsill, winter is a great time to start seeds indoors for transplanting in the spring. This will give your seedlings a jumpstart on the growing season and gives you a wider variety of plants to choose from.
7. Plan your garden
Winter is also a great time to sit down with a cup of tea and plan out your garden for the coming season. Take inventory of what worked well last year and what didn’t and make any necessary changes to your garden design. This will save you time and effort when spring rolls around and you’re ready to start planting.
8. Get larger garden projects underway
As well as planning your planting, think about any larger garden projects that are on your to do list. Do you want to landscape your garden to better define areas. Add an eye-catching new feature? Create a play area for the kids? Or utilise a neglected corner by adding a garden room or office?
Now is a good time to start researching and scoping out your project, getting quotes for any labour and materials, and booking in help from designer, landscapers or other suppliers. Getting all this done in the quieter winter months means you’re far more likely to have the work completed earlier in the year, so it’s ready to enjoy through the summer months.
As you can see, there are plenty of gardening tasks to keep you busy throughout the winter months. So don’t hibernate just yet – wrap up warm, get out there and get your garden ready for the spring!