During the winter it’s easy to neglect your garden in favour of staying inside and warm, however now is the perfect time to prepare your garden ensuring that the first spring flowers bloom in the next few months. Let our step-by-step guide help you.
1. Clean out your shed or greenhouse
There’s nothing worse than blunt gardening tools, misplaced secateurs or simply not having any space to plant early seeds or store essential plant feeds and fertilisers. Get prepared and avoid those early season growing pains!
2. Clear your flowerbeds
Your plants may not have grown during the winter, but weeds will have taken hold and things like dead stalks and fallen leaves need clearing until you can see bare soil. You should also prune trees and shrubs ready for spring.
3. Prepare the soil
Earth gets compacted over the winter months so the first thing to do is dig it over. Loosen it to a depth of about 14 inches before adding some compost and mixing it in. Compost is vital to add nutrients, retain moisture and improve texture.
4. Get a water butt
There’s no point waiting for the warmer months, make the most of the wetter winter weather by installing a water butt now. Nothing beats rainwater for healthy, happy plants, plus it saves you money in the long-run if you’re on a water metre.
5. Set slug traps
There’s nothing slugs like more than tender young spring plants. Beat them to it with non-toxic traps such as the end of a plastic bottle, sunk into the ground and filled with beer. You can also put coarse sand around the edges of your flower beds to deter them.
6. Toad and hedgehog havens
Nature always knows best and natural pest control in the shape of slug-munching toads and hedgehogs are the most effective way to protect your plants. Upturned terracotta flowerpots with ‘doors’ chipped out of them or simple piles of logs and leaves make perfect wildlife habitats.
7. Get fertilising
Roses need to be well-fed before the growing season so it’s essential you fertilise the soil around them in advance. If you have your own chickens, using manure from their coops is a perfect fertiliser. Make sure you dig it into the soil so all the nutrients reach the roots then sit back and enjoy a glorious floral display later in the year.
8. Service your lawn mower
It won’t be long before it’s back to the weekly weekend grass-cutting routine so now is the ideal time to give your mower the once over. It’s best to use an expert, as blades will need to be sharpened and mechanical parts checked and oiled.