‘It is important’: How to keep your garden healthy in winter whilst preparing for spring

This Morning: Daisy talks about January gardening tasks

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All too often, many gardeners procrastinate on their winter gardening jobs until they are ready to start planting again in the spring. It is easy to forget that cold weather does not only affect plants, but that it can also negatively impact the structure of the soil, create hazards, and threaten wildlife. There are a number of simple steps gardeners can take to not only prepare for spring, but to also increase their safety. 

Catherine Moss from The Indian Fire Bowl Company explains the importance of gardening in winter to prepare for spring.

She said: “It is important for gardeners to use these months of potential downtime to prepare for the new year.  

“If gardeners use the winter months to their advantage, they will be able to take control of their waste and allow it to break down in a natural and environmentally-friendly way, while preparing soil for new plants.”

Catherine has shared her top tips for amateur gardeners this winter.

She said: “Our top tips from the checklist involve harvesting vegetables, digging up soil, and ensuring the wildlife in your garden is well cared for.”

Rake up debris

During the strong weather of winter, debris can get stuck in the garden.  

Rake up any leaves, rubbish, old supports and netting, and clear away any broken pots or garden accessories. 

If left, the surface the debris is lying on can become damaged.  

Grass and plants may die or become contaminated, any rubbish that has been blown into your garden is hazardous for wildlife, and any leftover supports, nets, or unused pots should be cleared away so as to not clutter the garden and to make it ready for the spring.

However, if any leaves cover vegetable beds, leave them as they add lots of nutrients to the soil and act as a natural option for mulch.

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Harvest remaining vegetables

Forgotten veggies need to be dug up to make way for a new harvest.  

Remove old vegetables and plants that have either come to the end of their natural cycle or that are no longer wanted and throw them into the compost heap.  

This is a great way to make sure none of the current plants go to waste while also aiding the growth of new plants.

Dig up garden beds

It’s time to dig them up so that frost from the cold winter nights breaks up the soil and improves the structure.  

Gardeners should avoid their soil becoming frozen in place.

However, with sandy soil, hold off on your digging until the spring.  

Because sandy soils are free-draining, the beds will be more prone to moisture loss so by refraining from digging will retain as much moisture as possible.

Clean and tidy plant pots

It’s time to clean plant pots and tidy them away, especially if they are terracotta which can crack in the extreme cold.  

Either pop the plant pots into a storage solution, or stack them away out of the cold, ready to be refilled next year.  

Create a compost heap

Add a compost heap to flower beds or spread it on top of ‘no dig’ raised beds to encourage healthy and fruitful growth.  

Throw in old plants and food scraps now to get fertile compost for the new plants in spring.

Gardeners could also use this opportunity to encourage the breakdown of leaves, by adding them to black bin liners with a little soil, with some air holes punched into the bags.  

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