Just because it is the start of winter, it doesn’t mean you have to put away the gumboots and stow your spade. Winter provides plenty of opportunities for different jobs in the garden that you can enjoy!
The first thing we like to do when it comes to our winter garden is make sure we have everything checked off our to do list to keep the garden healthy and thriving.
- The first thing to consider is to add a layer of mulch to your garden, this will protect your plants from the cold weather, conserve moisture and add valuable nitrogen back to the soil and replenish nutrients!
- Winter can also be a great time to spruce up your tool cupboard. As your tools will have been in full use over the warmer months, now is a good time to give them some much needed TLC - doing things like cleaning, oiling, sharpening and replacing anything that is beyond repair will mean they’ll be in great condition when you next need to bring them out .
- Natural food sources are scarce for birds during winter, so another thing you can add to your winter checklist is assembling or purchasing a bird feeder and seeds
- Start planning your spring crops! What you want to grow and harvest, what flowers you want to see blossoming in your garden - if you start planning these now, by the time springs rolls around you will be well-prepared to make the most of the season.
- Plant new season roses and get pruning! It's time to prune your roses, shrubs and any perennials that are looking untidy, or have finished flowering for the season.
- Deadhead any plants that have finished flowering for the season; this will encourage new foliage and flowers to keep your garden colourful and full of new blooms.
- Keep on top of weeding and apply mulch around plants to help suppress weeds to make sure they are not stealing other plants’ nutrients!
Maintaining Your Winter Veggie Garden
There are so many vegetables that thrive in cold weather and make great additions to your winter diet!
- Broad beans, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, celery, garlic, kale, onions, peas, shallots, silverbeet, spinach and coriander are all great winter vegetables to keep thriving in your garden. Before planting these, make sure you dig in compost and pellets to ensure you have replenished any nutrients that may have been soaked up by the previous crops.
- The shortest day of the year (June 20th) is typically the day for planting garlic. Plant the cloves 5cm deep with the pointy tip to the sky and you will be harvesting amazing crops in mid-late summer!
- Avoid any frost faux pas by planting crops in containers, this way you can move your plants around to catch midday sun.
- When July rolls around, this is the best time to sprout new season seed potatoes so they are all ready for planting in August. We recommend using certified seed potatoes which will really thrive in the home garden without any viruses that can be known to affect potatoes.
Maintaining Your Winter Fruit Garden
By now, your oranges, lemons, grapefruit, kiwifruit, mandarins and tamarillos should be flourishing and ready to be harvested, so now is the best time to start planting new season deciduous fruit trees!
- Make sure you plan before you plant, this will ensure that in around 4 years you’ll hopefully be enjoying the fruits of your labour, rather than struggling to deal with trees planted in the wrong spot.
- Get them sitting pretty - Growing fruit trees is relatively straight-forward provided that they have enough space to grow, are planted in nice fertile free-draining soil and get as much sun as possible, so make sure you consider where they sit before planting.
- Thinking about spacing - Fruit trees planted too closely together often struggle as they are more likely to compete for water and nutrients, and are more likely to get disease. So for happy healthy trees, make sure you give them space to flourish.
- Maintain weeds, as they are competitors for valuable nutrients that will help your fruit trees grow.
We hope that this has got you inspired to make the most of those crisp winter days and get out there to create your perfect winter garden. Til next time!