With winter just around the corner the idea of heading out into the garden is becoming a distant memory for many. However, before the cold weather really sets in, you can make the most of the daylight hours to tackle a few of those last-minute jobs. These last-minute tasks might not seem like much now, but they could bring huge benefits in the months to come. Take a look…
Spend time over the next few weeks making the most of the relatively mild days and weekends. Plant garlic before the ground gets too hard and tidy up deciduous shrubs before the bitter cold stops you from squeezing those hedge trimmers. It’s also a good idea to clear any fallen autumnal leaves from your lawn, ponds, beds and small plants. Make the most of the time still available to be spent outside because by the end of November, the chances of getting outside regularly are pretty slim. Remember also, getting outside over the next few weeks, even for a small amount of time, will help boost your mood which has been lowered by shorter, darker days and dropping temperatures.
Garlic is really easy to manage and therefore a great winter crop and perfect for gardening beginners. One of the most popular varieties to grow in the UK is Solent White. It tastes great, and is a generally reliable crop that forms at a decent size.
To grow a healthy crop it’ll need moist soil in an open, sunny spot of the garden. Garlic doesn’t like really wet weather, nor does it like really warm weather, so this is the perfect time of year. Winter is particularly good as the garlic needs the cold winter temperatures to stimulate division in the bulb.
When planting garlic, break down the bulb into individual cloves and plant each one around 15cm apart. Cover with soil and a mulched layer of compost if you have it – don’t worry if not. If you’ve planted garlic in your garden before, remember it needs to be rotated so choose a different patch to last year.
Now’s the time for a big garden tidy up. Collapse your outdoor dining set, give your barbecue a clean and pack it all away into your shed. If you shed or decking need a new waterproof coat then now’s the time to get this done. Equally, make sure all garden tools are packed away.
Now’s a great time to get your lawn cut before letting it grow over winter. It’s also the perfect time to neaten up garden shrubs . Get rid of any dead heads in your garden and cut back any overgrown bushes. Buddleia, for example, grow wildly during spring and summer, so by this time of year there are a lot of lengthy stems flailing in the wind. These are in danger of getting damaged, which means they might not grow as well next year. So, cut them back between a third and a half of their length to prevent damage.
If you’re an artistic gardener who likes to prune your hedges into beautiful shapes, then now’s the time to start again. Over summer they’re likely to have grown a little out of shape, so make the most of the next few weeks to get them back to perfection.
Finally, now’s the time to step up your garden security. The darker days and evenings make unprepared gardens a great target for opportunist thieves. Make sure all of your garden tools and equipment are locked securely in a shed. Add some lights to your garden to deter any trespassers. These don’t have to be security lights, but small lights dotted around your garden should be enough of a deterrent. Lock your garden gate securely with a padlock at this time of year. Keep your hedges low to prevent thieves using them as a hiding place. Finally, if you can, add some gravel to your garden paths as it’s too noisy for sneaking.