If you love your garden but don’t know what to do with it in the winter, we have some ideas to keep you enjoying your outside space all season long.
If you have the room, why not start by growing a vegetable patch? There are all sorts of vegetables that can be planted in the winter months including:
- Onions and shallots – these guys are so low maintenance, they pretty much look after themselves throughout the winter months.
- Perpetual spinach – plant early enough and you should be able to harvest this throughout winter.
- Broad beans – one of the best autumn sowings and very easy to plant.
- Peas – there are so many varieties and they are quite hardy. Planting at the right time could mean you can enjoy your harvest three to four weeks earlier than most.
If you prefer boarder plants and hanging baskets, and want to find ways to brighten up the dark autumn and winter days, then why not consider these:
- Pansies – available in a wide variety of colours and although they prefer sunlight, they will be happy in a semi shaded location.
- Viola – this is a hardy little plant which will offer you a subtle but colourful display.
- Primrose – another flower with a wide range of colour variations. Plant these on frost free days for the best results.
Of course, there are many more varieties of vegetables and flowers to choose from. Your local garden centre should be able to offer advice as to what will work best with your garden and the season.
Autumn and winter can also take its toll on your decking, fencing and trees, but did you know that there’s plenty you can do to help to keep them all looking their best whilst protecting them from the elements?
Firstly, give your decking and fencing a good clean, ensuring to clear all leaves and debris. This will help prevent mould and mildew forming. Then you can use a wood friendly, bleach-free cleaner.
If you chose to power-wash your decking or fencing be mindful of your settings as the wrong setting could damage the wood.
Once the wood is nice and clean, apply a water-repellent sealer. Moisture can penetrate unprotected wood, causing warping and splitting, so this is an essential step. Your local DIY store will have a variety of different products that can help you here. If the wood is stained or painted, consider stripping it back prior to applying a water-repellent sealer.
If there is snowfall, you should aim to clear the snow off decking and fencing as soon as you can – using a broom if possible, as a shovel will leave marks on the wood. If you do have to use a shovel, make sure you go for a plastic one and work lengthwise with the deck boards as to reduce the amount of damage. It is also best to avoid using any salt or ice removers, as these can cause the wood surface to deteriorate.
If you have any planters or pots on the decking surface, this could lead to staining where water has been draining away. Moving them around the deck on a regular basis should help avoid localised staining.
Remove weeds, overgrown plants and any rubbish from the base of your fence. This will help with drainage and allow the ground to dry out quicker, which is good news for your fence posts.
Any loose fence posts and panels should be repaired so they are strong enough to survive the winter winds. In bad weather, even the smallest damage to a fence panel can quickly lead to a bigger problem to repair, so it’s important to keep on top of them.
If you have metal fences, these will also need through cleaning to remove any rust patches. Usually, using a wire brush and some good old-fashioned elbow grease will do the trick. Once the surface is clean and rust free, apply some rust resistant paint to help slow down further rusting. If there is a large amount of rust you should consider sanding the entire area, applying a primer and then a few coats of rust resistant paint.
It’s important to prune your trees ready for winter, so they can withstand the colder months ahead.
You should focus on any branches that are over or near your house, car or power lines. It is best to remove them if you think the branches are already dead or damaged.
You may already be aware of the benefits of fertilizing, mulching and hydrating your trees and it’s important that you do this ahead of winter too. This will make sure they have all the nutrients they need to see them through.
If you have young plants or trees you should also protect the roots by applying some mulch on top of the soil covering them. This acts as insulation, protecting the vulnerable roots against the dropping temperatures.
If you need help from a tree surgeon or gardener, why not check out our approved members in your local area now.