With its long cold nights and short days, winter can feel like it has been going on forever.
But it will not be long before spring arrives and the gardeners among us will be able to enjoy nurturing a vegetable patch, mowing the lawn and planting flowers once again.
Whilst it might not seem like an obvious choice of activity at this time of year, there are plenty of jobs to be getting on with in the garden this winter so that spring is just that little bit less hectic.
Here are the key jobs you really should be doing over winter to ensure your garden will be ‘blooming’ beautiful by March:
Prepare your green house
Having a greenhouse is a fantastic addition to any garden or vegetable plot as it enables gardeners to extend the seasons and produce a wide variety of vegetables. It is worth using the winter months to get your greenhouse prepared so that you can focus on nurturing vegetables inside the greenhouse during the spring. Thompson and Morgan says you should wash your greenhouse before March, sweep out any plant debris off the floor and benches and disinfect surfaces with a hot solution of garden disinfectant. You should also wash any pots and seed trays to prevent any diseases from harming your young plants.
Sort out bulbs and seeds
If you have thought ahead, you will have already planted your spring flowering bulbs, such as daffodils and tulips, by now. But towards the end of winter you can begin sourcing the bulbs that will create a beautiful summer display. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) says you should plant tender summer-flowering bulbs such as gladioli in the early spring. Other flowers that fall into this category include alliums, begonias and freesias. The RHS has a helpful guide on how to plant bulbs effectively to ensure you get a beautiful display throughout the year.
Clear up your borders
If we have a sunny and relatively mild day this winter, take advantage of it and remove any dead leaves from your lawns and flower borders. Thompson and Morgan advises that you cut back old dead growth of deciduous grasses and herbaceous perennials at this time of year. Remember to keep your dead leaves so you can turn them into compost!
Start sowing seeds
You might think that spring is the only time of year for sowing seeds, but that is not necessarily the case. Gardening expert Sarah Raven says there are many different seeds you can sow in January and February but they will need to be put under cover and heated in a propagator. The flower seeds you can sow in late winter include sweet peas, which give off a distinctive scent when they flower. In terms of herbs and vegetables, you can sow fresh coriander, tomatoes and broad beans.
Install a water butt
Do not let all that precious rain that is falling over the winter months go to waste – collect it with a water butt. This is good for the environment because it means you are not using your home’s water supply to water your garden. It also means that if there happens to be a hosepipe ban over the summer, you will have a reserve of water on standby. Furthermore, as tap water is slightly alkaline, Thompson and Morgan says rain water is excellent for watering ericaceous plants such as blueberries, rhododendrons and camellias.
Look after your tools
It might be tempting to just leave your garden tools in the shed until the spring, but it is worth taking time over winter to give them a good clean and sharpen. You do not want to get to March and then have to fork out money for new tools because they have become rusty or have broken. Furthermore, Thompson and Morgan says cleaning dirty secateurs could actually help prevent the spread of plant disease. Better Homes and Gardens has a good guide on its website, which shows you how to easily clean your tools.
By taking advantage of a clear day this winter you will reap the rewards in early spring. By March, you will be able to focus on the jobs that need to be done at that time of year, such as pruning and getting back into the swing of regularly mowing the lawn.