Winter Wonderland: Preparing Your Garden For The Cold Season
When you’re thinking of gardening, the first picture you’ll get is of a sunny, evergreen place that relaxes you and puts your mind at ease. But what happens to this area during the colder months of the year? After all, it’s not like you can create a new garden from scratch every spring. Protecting the plants you have and ensuring they make it through the dark and bleak winter months means that your garden will be able to thrive and be healthier when the time comes for it to bloom again.
If you’re new to gardening, it’s normal to make some mistakes. More often than not, they can be remedied with little to no damage. However, if you want to make sure you avoid errors as much as possible and to ensure your garden will be beautiful come springtime, here are some things you must be sure to do before the weather gets frosty.
A vegetable garden is beautiful since you can be sure that your food is organic. You know exactly what went into growing that produce, and you can be confident that the meals you cook for your family are wholesome and nutritious. You can grow your own veggies throughout the winter with the help of indoor or balcony pots from elho. Made from sustainable materials, they won’t leach any harmful substances into your plants, and you can be certain that the integrity of your food is maintained.
All tender vegetables such as peas, tomatoes, beans, pumpkin and squash must be harvested before the first frost since they are more sensitive and instantly become inedible in icy weather. The hardier vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, garlic, and other greens like Brussels sprouts and kale, can withstand lower temperatures and taste better after a light frost. Garlic can even be planted during November and harvested during the summer.
Cabbage, Swiss chard, carrots, beets, turnips and other root vegetables, potatoes, leeks, cauliflower and Arugula can be somewhere in between as semi-hardy vegetables that tolerate a lower level of frost. They can benefit from the protection of cold frame enclosures or floating row covers. You can also harvest them before the frosts have started setting in.
Mulch and compost
Although mulching and adding compost can be done at any time of the year since they are always beneficial for the plants, it makes sense to perform this task during autumn. The soil is moist and still relatively warm during this time of the year. The added layer of organic material on top, including wood chips, bark and leaves, will lock the moisture and nutrients inside and improve the general condition of the soil.
The same applies to compost. Autumn is the best time to start creating a pile, as well as the ideal period to add it to your garden to improve the texture and composition of the soil. It gives you something to do with all the kitchen waste, grass clippings and any food that isn’t safe to consume anymore so that you don’t waste anything. The thick layers of compost or mulch help perennial plants endure the freezing temperature and later thawing, shield them from the erosion that affects the soil during heavy rains, and deter pests from attacking your garden.
During the colder months, your garden enters a period known as winter rest, a time of reduced activity. It’s not just animals that feel the biological need to save energy because of the cold weather, but plants. It’s important to allow plants to rest during this time, so don’t add any fertilisers in late autumn since they will stimulate growth, making the plants more susceptible to the cold. Even plants that are winter-flowering don’t typically need fertilisers. There are only a few exceptions, such as shrubs and deciduous trees, that can benefit from a bit of strengthening at their root system.
All potted plants should be brought indoors to allow them to rest in more pleasant conditions. You can get flower pots suitable for any corner of your home, all while providing the best conditions for your plants.
They come in different shapes and sizes, so you can bring everything from vegetables to herbs inside. Potted plants can be more susceptible to frost damage, so getting them inside means you don’t have to worry about the possible damage. Moving them on the porch can be helpful since the heat radiating from the home can sustain them.
If you’re new to gardening, planting during the winter can seem odd. But don’t worry, bulbs won’t freeze in winter, even when it gets freezing outside. They are naturally equipped with the necessary defences to keep them from becoming damaged in the winter temperatures. In fact, there’s a specific biochemical process that is triggered only by the cold and which later allows plants to flower during the spring.
Dark green vegetables appear to be suitable for planting during the winter. Mustard greens, asparagus, radishes, lettuce, leeks and garlic are all good options. You can plant flowers as well, including pansies, daffodils, and snowdrops. They’ll all bloom right when spring comes, and it gets brighter and sunny outside.
Winter can be challenging for local species that might visit your garden, so you could also lend them a helping hand. Protecting biodiversity is essential for the environment overall. Bird tables should be filled with nuts, seeds and suet. The latter is highly beneficial when it is cold outside. It provides them with the necessary calories and energy and maintains optimal body heat.
Insect hotels can be a good DIY activity to include children in. They are specifically designed to help species such as ladybirds as well as pollinators. If deer visit your garden, you can leave maple, witch hobble, birch or ash for them, as well as supplements like acorns or oats. Foxes enjoy chicken carcasses, cheese, fat scraps and even boiled potatoes.
Hazelnuts, almonds, beans and apples can make a hearty meal for a squirrel. Badgers can eat meat that has been lightly cooked and fruits, while hedgehogs will be drawn to minced meat, eggs and even dog food as long as it is not fish-based.
Keeping your garden healthy throughout the winter can seem challenging, but it is the only way to ensure the place will be fresh and blooming when spring comes.