Putting the garden to bed

As the weather gets colder, it might be tempting to close the door on the garden until spring, but if you make the most of the best crisp autumnal days with a few key jobs, then it can have huge benefits.

Here are a few simple and easy ways to put your garden to bed, ready for winter – you’ll be glad you did when spring arrives!

Start Simple

The obvious first step is to clear away dead annuals, tackle overgrown areas, and harvest any remaining fruit and veg to avoid them rotting and setting seed. Don’t forget that the clean-up should also apply to your tools and equipment – once you’ve finished the rest of the jobs, take care not to leave things out over the winter, but instead clean, disinfect and dry them, and store somewhere safe and dry until spring. 

Get Weeding

You might think of weeding as a warm-weather discipline, but perennial weeds may still have popped up since your last blitz, and if you get rid of them now, poor conditions will prevent them growing back, getting you ahead for spring.

Plant bulbs 

Another traditional autumn task – get your bulbs in now to cheer up the garden in the early part of next year. Don’t just think about daffodils, but try other things too – November is a great time to plant tulips, and crocuses and cyclamen will survive frost and snow to add a splash of colour even when the weather is still really cold.  

Take Care of Tender Plants

Remember to bring any tender plants into the greenhouse before the frosty mornings begin, to keep them safe for next year – dahlias are the exception, and should stay outside until the first frost has blackened their stems. 

Focus on the Lawn

Now is the perfect time of year to give your lawn a little tender loving care – look out for an autumn lawn feed and apply to strengthen the roots. You’ll certainly notice the difference when spring comes. Make sure you also rake up any fallen leaves rather than leaving them to rot on the grass – you can use them to…

…Make the Most of Your Compost 

Turn fallen leaves into a fantastic fertilizer for your soil. All you need to do is sweep them up periodically and stash them in a bin liner, then once it’s almost full, punch a couple of holes in the bag, add a sprinkle of water to the leaves, and give it all a good shake. Then simply tie the bag up and leave it until next autumn, when you’ll have a beautiful mulch for other plants.   

Don’t forget, winter is also the perfect time to get planning for next year – there’s nothing better on a chilly winter day than settling down to dream of summer, whether you like to scribble and sketch in a notebook or scour Pinterest for planting ideas. It’ll only be a few chilly months before the whole garden springs to life again!

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