7 Essential gardening tasks for winter

Samantha PillingThe Gardens

Set of garden tools. Pruning in the garden.

If you’re a novice or casual gardener, you may be forgiven for thinking that it’s time to hang up your gloves and put your feet up, during the winter months. However, it may often be quieter in the garden, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing left to do until spring.

Here are our seven essential gardening tasks for the winter months.

#1: Clean pots

The quieter winter months give you the perfect opportunity to clean and scrub out your planting pots and trays. Get rid of any lingering dirt, to avoid contaminating new plants. Give all your pots and trays a scrub in hot water before restacking them in size order, ready for the new season.

#2: Mend and replace

Now’s a good time to replace broken timber, assess how healthy the wood on your raised beds are, and take stock of your greenhouses, glasshouses, lean-tos and coverings (such as cloches, weed repellent fabric etc).

#3: Carry out inventory

Go through your inventory and get prepared for the onset of the new season. Check what seed packets you have and whether they’re still in date. Clean and check your plant labels and canes. Check your glasshouse heaters are working and

#4: Get clearing

The onset of the colder months inevitably means having the thankless task of sweeping up fallen leaves. It’s an essential job that helps prevent the spread of pests and diseases, stops your paths getting slippery and gives the weeds nowhere to hide. It is usually followed by snow clearing and of course, then there are the weeds! They don’t stop growing during the colder months but, with the beds looking a lot emptier, it’s a lot easier to spot and remove them!

The quieter winter months are perfect for removing overgrown plants, such as Ivy and brambles, as well as any dead or unwanted plants from your beds and borders.

#5: Seasonal pruning

Winter is a good time to prune back many woody plants, without running the risk of upsetting any nesting birds. Many plants prefer to be pruned when dormant, to avoid stress, whilst others can be pruned to encourage new growth in spring.

#6: Protect and cover

Insulate your taps and ponds against cold weather and frost. Also, remember to wrap bubblewrap around outdoor plants that need protecting. If you’re growing winter veg, ensure it’s protected and covered too.

#7: Prepare the soil

If you’re looking to dig over a new border or bed, winter is a good time to do it. Not only does it expose pests to the cold and natural predators, the frost and rain will also help break down hard lumps of soil.

Finally, don’t forget to give the wildlife a helping hand! Put out some bird food to encourage birds into your garden. Give them some fresh water to drink and ensure bird tables and feeders are clear of snow and ice.

Gardening is a year-round hobby for many of us. Whether you’re a winter lover or not, these seven tasks will get you outside and in the fresh air – with the added bonus of getting your garden ready, for the new season in the new year!

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