It is the time of year when it is perfect to plan for the next growing season. The short days and longer nights are great for planning ahead for the garden.
Every year I make a note of what I have sown so that I can remember when it comes to ordering new seeds again. Some seeds will go on the ‘not bothering with those again’ imaginary pile and others on the ‘this year I will buy two packets’ pile.
There is also plenty to be done in the garden itself on the finer winter days. Here are my three top things to do to make sure your garden is ready for the growing season.
Get rid of your weeds
I always say a weed removed over winter is worth 100, nay, 1000 in spring. Wrapped up warmly I can spend hours outside not tidying up too carefully as I like to leave areas for insects to hibernate and seed heads for birds to find food. I will weed and I will do some light tree pruning – I am not an expert tree surgeon so I only remove branches I can safely reach. It is always best to get the experts in to do those tasks that require knowledge and skill.
Prepare the veggie garden
I usually prep the vegetable garden at this time as well. I have some overwintering vegetables growing such as spring cabbage and purple sprouting broccoli and I will keep the weeds down around them and in the other beds.
Usually in late spring, just as the soil is thinking of warming up, I will mulch the beds with some compost from the compost bins or sometimes I will buy some bags of manure that I just spread on top of the beds and let the worms do their job of dragging it down into the soil. Always make sure you have rotted manure as the fresh stuff can burn young plants.
Spot the blooming bulbs
Best of all whilst I am gardening in the Winter, when it feels like all is still and there is not much going on; I look out for the bulbs that are already emerging. There are signs of Spring just waiting to burst out: the snowdrops, the blossom buds on the trees, the small peaks of green on some shrubs and shredded beauty of the hamamelis flowers. The garden never truly rests.
Friends are often surprised when they know I have been gardening in the Winter, but if it is not raining and the ground is not frozen then it is a great place to be. This year in particular when all of us with gardens have probably appreciated them more than ever before and understood more keenly how lucky we are to have these spaces no matter how small; it is good to spend some time outside and out the house.
I always see the new growing season as a time of great hope, let us hope that the new year brings us more joy than 2020.