The way the weather has been lately, you wouldn’t think that November and December are the time to be in the garden. But there are plenty of jobs that can be done in the winter. Gardens are living things. Though they do slow down a little in winter, they still need to be taken care of. You might need to wrap up a little more, but the jobs are really worthwhile. So pick a day that is dry, get your wellies, gardening gloves and a big coat on. Then get stuck in with some essential winter garden maintenance. Here are some of the things that you could be doing.
The Shed or Store
One of the things you could be doing to taking care of your garden tools. No doubt they are kept outside or in a shed over the winter. So there is a large chance of them rusting. One thing that you can do is to wipe them down with some linseed oil. Wipe that on the wooden and the metal parts of the tools. It helps to keep the wood from drying out and stops the metal from rusting. While you are in the shed, it is a good idea to have a clear out. Over summer it will have more than likely become a little messy, as you’ll have been kept busy over summer. So have a tidy up and clear out of things that are no longer needed. Then it will be ready for when spring comes around, and the garden starts to get busy again. It is also a good time to double check how secure your shed or store is. You will be out there less often in the winter. So are less likely to notice if anything goes missing. A lock or large padlock works well, as well as acting as a deterrent.
If you have any wooden fencing, then now is the time to check how it is holding up. Check if there are any repairs that need to be made. It is also a good idea to give them a layer or wood stain and a wood preservative. Then it can help to stop the fence from rotting over the colder and wetter months. If you have a balcony or elevated decking area, then you might want to check on that area too. If there are repairs to be made, then it can often be easier this time of year. Maintenance people will tend to be quieter, especially for garden maintenance. So it could be worth getting fencing or a balustrade fixed now. If the wire in a balustrade is looking a little worse for wear, then make sure you get the steel wire inserts replaced. They could also be coated in some oil over winter, to help them stay in top condition.
Compost and Water Butt
If you have a compost area, then it is a good time to neaten it all up. If you don’t have an area for compost or a bin then getting or creating one is a really good idea. It is a good idea to turn your compost bin every so often too. Then the ingredients can be mixed up and let nature do its thing! Fill the compost with plenty of fallen leaves, and any shrubs that have been pruned. Did you know that the cellophane wrappers that come with some chocolates (like Quality Street) are compostable? So make sure you throw them on the compost too.
Getting a sheet of plastic or an old piece of carpet is good to cover the compost. You don’t want it to get too wet and mushy as it will make it harder to break down.
If you have a water butt, then that can do with a clean as we come into winter. If there is existing water in there, it can become mouldy if it is just left there during the cold weather. If that happens, it will be of no use really. So emptying it out and cleaning the water butt is a really good idea. Then you can collect fresh rainwater in a clean water butt.
If the outdoors seems too much for you, then you can plan from your cosy armchair. You could design your herb garden, or decide what you will plant when the spring comes around. You could draw out a plan, or order the shrubs and vegetables that you want to grow. Then you can just get on with planting once spring arrives.