Spring is a busy time in the garden. As soon as it hits, a keen gardener will get caught up in sowing and nurturing their plants in no time.
Winter, on the other hand, is pretty quiet. However, there are plenty of things you can do during the colder months to get ready for the warm weather and all the jobs that come along with it.
To help get you and your garden ready and organised, we’ve come up with 9 tips to help you prepare your garden for spring.
1. Buy summer-flowering bulbs and seeds
Not all gardening jobs have to be outside. When the weather’s hostile and you can’t face being outside, head to the garden centre or go online and order your bulbs and seeds. Summer-flowering bulbs that need to be planted in early spring include freesias, lilies and begonias.
2. Maintain your gardening tools
Another job to do in late winter or early spring is to clean and sharpen your tools. This will help to protect your plants from bacteria and fungi and improve your tool performance. Maintaining your tools may seem like a faff but it’ll make your tools last for longer and save you money.
3. Tidy up flower beds and borders
Have a general tidy up to get your garden ready for spring. Remove leaves and other debris from borders, lawns and ponds and cut back any dead growth. If you want to give the soil some TLC, dig a 5cm layer of manure, compost or green waste into your garden borders.
4. Fix fences and trellises
Take advantage of your lack of gardening jobs to take care of any broken structures. You should be able to access fences and trellises easily at this time of year without worrying about squashing any shoots or flowers. To help your wooden garden structures last longer, treat them with a wood preservative when you have a bit of dry weather.
5. Set up water butts
Early spring is a good time to set up water butts ready to catch the season’s rainfall. Using rainwater helps the environment and is good for plants like Rhododendrons that don’t like the slightly alkaline pH of tap water. Make sure that any water butts you set up are under a downpipe to maximise the amount of water they collect.
6. Clean your greenhouse
Another job for late winter or early spring is cleaning your greenhouse. If you wait until later on in the year the chances are you’ll have quite a few plants in there, which will make it considerably more difficult. Clear any debris off the shelves and disinfect them and the inside of the glass with garden disinfectant. You should also wash out any plant pots in there and leave the whole thing open to dry. This should keep your greenhouse clean and tidy and keep pests and diseases out.
7. Get rid of garden pests
Take advantage of the lingering cold weather to hunt down any garden pests. If you catch them while they’re still hibernating, they’re a lot easier to get rid of. Have a look at the crowns of your perennial plants and see if you find any slugs or snails hiding there. If you’re clearing out any plant pots, keep an eye out for any white vine weevil larvae. They tend to live in compost and feed on plant roots.
8. Move deciduous shrubs
If you need to move any deciduous shrubs, now is the time to do it. Choose a still day to avoid the roots drying out and dig widely around the shrub to transfer as many of the roots as possible. When putting it in a new place, plant it at the same level that is was before and water it generously.
9. Make a composting area
If you haven’t got one already, consider making a compost area in your garden. Not only is it a handy place to put your garden waste, it’ll also save you money on plant fertiliser. You can choose to buy a compost bin or make an area yourself, whichever you prefer. Just make sure you have a good mix of grass, vegetable and wood matter in there. You should also turn your compost every month or so to keep it aerated.
So while you might think that winter is a great time to put your feet up, there are still plenty of things you can do in the run-up to spring. Hopefully, our list will help you get organised and produce a beautiful garden in the months ahead.