Prepare your garden for spring this winter
You’d be forgiven for assuming that January is a quiet month in the garden; but don’t be fooled! Whilst the temptation can be to just lock the door and forget about your plot, it’s important to maintain some level of maintenance in preparation for the spring months. Although it might not feel like it, spring is just around the corner!
Here, I’ll share some simple tasks to keep on top of in the garden this month to make sure you’re ship-shape for spring. I’ve also included some links to other articles of mine that you might find useful as you look to the year ahead.
During the spring and summer you’ll likely have limited time for having a good old clear out, so why not get ahead of the curve and do it now? Sort out your shed or storage space – get rid of any outdated supplies, sort out your pot collection, and even install a tool rack to make a real difference to your garden organisation. Invest in a garden trug to keep your regularly used equipment in one easy-access place. Tidy up garden debris, pull up any rogue weeds, cut back tired perennials and make sure your compost heap is looking tidy. If you’re not composting yet, what are you waiting for?! It’s really easy to get started – read my DIY guide here.
Spruce up your timbers
The lack of foliage in your garden at this time of year makes the place look a bit barren, doesn’t it? But this bare structure means you’ve got plenty of room to work on the wooden objects in your plot. Treat your fences and shed with a good timber preservative, and they’ll stand you in good stead for years to come. If you’re treating a large area, some brands can be applied using a roller which is a great time saver.
If you have wooden furniture in your garden, it’s best to store it away or at least cover it through the winter month, as prolonged rain and frost will rot the timber eventually. Apply a preservative to your furniture too (there are lots of lovely coloured stains out there), paying particular attention to the base of the legs where rot will set in first. Aluminium and metal furniture can show wear and tear too; brush off any flaking paint and rust with a stiff wire brush and repaint with an outdoor-quality metal paint.
Care for your garden tools
Just as we’d look after household items, garden equipment and tools need looking after to keep them in tip-top condition. Don’t let your trowels, shears and lawnmower languish in the shed to rust and become caked with dried soil – it’ll just be a pain when you’re finally ready to use them again. Read my detailed article on caring for your winter tools here.
During the cold, wet months your garden soil can become compacted, which makes it really hard for plant life to come through. Winter digging is a really good practice to get into: digging and aerating your soil with a lot of good organic matter, preparing it to be a healthy growth environment come spring. Simply dig a spade-width trench along the length of your bed (avoiding any waterlogged or frozen ground), then fill it with well-rotted manure. Working backwards across the bed, dig another trench and fill it with manure again, before topping the manure with the soil dug from the previous trench.
Have a redesign
The time when your garden looks relatively bare is a good opportunity to consider the layout. As perennials and trees grow and change shape, you might want to consider redesigning your beds and planning out your colour scheme for the year ahead. Read my article on using colour in garden design here.
Get your orders in
Finally, when your plot is looking tickety-boo, it’s time to put your feet up and look forward to the year ahead. This is a great time to get your seed orders in – there are lots of great catalogues you can send off for that keep a wide choice of new and traditional seeds to get creative with.