Winter is well on its way, and as much as the outdoors might not be terribly inviting right now, there are a few gardening tips to keep in mind that will help your greenery survive the season, and flourish in spring.
Plus, looking after your landscaping now will make for some gorgeous garden images in spring in summer, should you be looking to sell your property any time soon.
So pull on a raincoat, get the kettle ready for a hot cuppa once you’re done, and get outdoors to try these gardening tips this winter!
1. Now is the time to prune
Pruning is always a deeply satisfying job, and winter is the time to do it. It’s also so easy that it’s practically gardening for beginners 101, so it’s a good place to start if you’re still working on your green thumb.
Be brutal - aim to cut back plants to the bare minimum of just three or four main stems. This will help you to rearrange the shape, and to encourage vigorous growth come spring.
The only areas you should leave alone are any shrubs or trees that flower in spring. If you prune them now, you might cut off all the buds! Instead, wait until they have started flowering to trim these trees.
2. Aerate your lawn
Fortunately, looking after the lawn is fairly easy through winter.
The main tip is to aerate the soil to allow the moisture to truly soak through, rather than puddling on top. A garden fork is the simplest tool for the job, but you can use a powered aerator (or hire one) if you have access to this tech. There are plenty of DIY videos on how to do this online if you need a quick introduction.
Be sure to follow up with some fertiliser in spring and you’ll be ready for picnics on the lawn in no time.
3. Don’t stop planting
Just because it’s cooler and wetter doesn’t mean you have to stop planting; there are plenty of varieties that take well to this kind of climate.
In the veggie patch, plant carrots, peas, and English spinach. These vegetables tend to do well in Australian winters, but be sure to check at your local garden centre to see which varieties are best for your specific region.
You can also plant deciduous trees and shrubs!
4. Prepare the soil for spring
Get one step ahead on your spring gardening by giving your soil some TLC over winter.
Pull out any weeds and cut back on invasive plants now while they are growing more slowly. You can also dig compost and manure into the soil to make sure it is well aerated and full of nutrients for when your spring plants go in.
5. Don’t stop fertilising
Winter is a time when garden growth slows to a crawl, but you should still provide your existing plants with the occasional ‘meal’ to keep them healthy and strong.
As a rule of thumb, you can use fertiliser at roughly half the rate you usually would. By giving your plants more than they need, you’ll simply waste the fertiliser, and in some cases, excess nitrogen can weaken the plants and cause issues such as mould.
You can continue to fertilise your flowering plants and vegetables through winter, however it is best to switch to a product with lower levels of nitrogen at this time of year.