Tasks to keep your garden happy & healthy
If, like me, you’ve looked back on this year and thought ‘where did all that time go?!’, you may be struggling to accept that the great British summertime is almost over, but the evenings are now perceptibly drawing in as autumn approaches.
Hopefully you’ve had a rewarding summer of enjoying your garden, and its colourful blooms or bumper fruit and veg harvests, and now it’s time to prepare your outdoor space for the incoming winter. There are a few tasks that are essential for any gardener in the autumn to make sure your plot is fully prepped and ready come next spring.
It’s not yet time to put your feet up, so roll up your sleeves and prepare for the big garden clean up!
Get your borders in order
Your annual plants will be looking a bit past their best now, so get them dug up and replaced with bulbs for spring bedding like polyanthus and pansies. Tender plants like begonias, gladioli and dahlias will need inspecting for bugs, and bringing into a garage, shed or greenhouse before the first frosts.
You can also take this opportunity to reorganise your plot, moving plants around and planting evergreens for a much-needed burst of green throughout winter. Once the beds are looking nice and tidy, spread some rich compost or manure over the soil to nourish it and protect any bulbs that remain in the ground.
As trees and plants lose their leaves, you get a great opportunity to gather up some resources for making really rich compost. Rake up fallen leaves and dead plants and add them to your compost heap, making sure it’s well turned. If you don’t have a compost heap then just gather the leaves into bin bags, sprinkle with water, punch some holes in the sides for ventilation and pack away somewhere sheltered for up to two years. This will break down to provide some nutrient-rich leaf mould that will give a great boost to your beds.
New to composting? Read my blog on getting started here.
Protect your pond
If you’ve got a pond or water feature in your garden, it’s a good idea to invest in some fine garden netting that can be placed over the water and held down with bricks or stones. This forms a barrier between falling leaves and greenery that can turn the water stagnant as it breaks down.
In the greenhouse
Shade paint on greenhouse panes will deprive your plants of light, which is becoming ever-more precious as the days draw in. Wash the year’s shade paint off with hot, soapy water to allow maximum light to reach inside.
As you’d spring clean your house, it’s also a good idea to ‘autumn clean’ your greenhouse so it’s in tip-top shape for next spring. Wash out pots and trays, clean the floors and surfaces, and wash the inside of the glass to help protect against pests and diseases that could take hold over winter.
Autumn is also an ideal time to plant certain salad leaves and vegetables (carrots, in particular) in your greenhouse that you can enjoy through the colder months.
These jobs ensure the health of your garden throughout the challenges of winter, and will also mean things are in tip-top shape for the spring next year. Hopefully, we’re still due a few more days of sunshine too, so they’re as good an excuse as any to get out and enjoy the final few rays of the summer.