Preparing Your Garden For Winter

  in  The Garden
With Winter approaching, it's time for your garden to go to sleep and refresh itself ready for spring. Here we highlight 5 top tips to prepare your garden for winter.

Water Butts
Throughout the year, your water butt can accumulate quite a lot of dirt and grunge, never mind rotting leaves in the downpipe from guttering. This the perfect time to empty out your butt and give it a good clean. This will give you odour free fresh water next year. If you find leaves are entering from your guttering into your downpipe, wire mesh at the top will stop the debris from contaminating the water.

Tidying Up Your Garden
Winter can cause havoc to your garden and leave it looking untidy as plants and flowers die, leaves fall and everything starts returning to the soil it came from. Your pride will kick in and you will want to leave your garden in the pristine condition, you have had it in all year round, removing all debris, cutting back plants and flowers and raking all leaves off your garden. DON'T!!! Whilst, we wouldn't recommend leaving your garden to look like a wild meadow, nature knows what it is doing and letting some of the natural decay unfold is all part of the ecosystem. Remove all unwanted organic material to a compost heap but don't go overboard.

Don't Forget The Wildlife
Depending upon the winter we have will depend upon how much the wildlife rely on the food we put out. Harsher winters mean less food available in the countryside, so make sure you keep your garden feeders topped up and cleaned out regularly. Be careful if you are clearing out your shed or greenhouse as this can often be where wildlife will hide out in winter including tortoises, butterflies, toads, and newts. The RSPCA often releases news releases around December, asking people to leave out water for squirrels, hedgehogs, and badgers to drink and bathe in.

Vegetables
According to Neil from online garden accessories shop QVS Marketing - Cover summer vegetables such as beans and peppers with garden fabric, if there are signs of an early frost. Pumpkins, potatoes, sweet potatoes and onions can be harvested. Potatoes can be dug up and kept in a dark, well-ventilated and cool place until April. If your tomatoes are green these can be harvested and kept indoors too. Make sure you clean up any garden debris and decay in beds that you have harvested. Mulching or sowing on empty beds will help protect the soil over the winter frosts.

Nurturing Soil
This is another example of letting nature do its business. As gardeners were often told that the best way to protect the soil, was to turn it over during winter ready for the spring months. The benefits of rain, frost, and aeration helping the nutrients of the soil. Recently, the advice is to let nature takes its course. Spreading compost over the soil and leaving it alone is the best course of action. Nature knows how to take care of itself and will safeguard itself till spring especially clay-rich soil. By constantly digging during the winter months you could actually be causing damage to the soil itself.