WINTER IN THE GARDEN
As we head towards the Festive Season here are some gardening tasks for days when it might be possible to venture outdoors and also some indoor options too.
If outdoor activity is off the agenda this is a good time to go through your seeds to see what is still viable for sowing next year and what should be discarded. In particular Parsnip and Basil don’t keep well once opened and it is usually worth starting from fresh each year. Store your seeds in a sealed tin in a cool dark place and they should keep in good condition.
Another idea for inclement weather is to note, perhaps from the comfort of indoors, what you look out onto. Consider how the view could be improved by the addition of some well-placed shrubs or perennials that give some colour and interest during the Winter months. Perhaps visit a garden that is known for a good winter display and research in books or on-line for inspiration.
Get creative with some evergreen foliage, berries and seed-heads to make some free festive decorations that are more sustainable than tinsel. Small winter themed decorations will also be much appreciated by family and friends as gifts.
If you haven’t yet planted garlic and shallots and have been holding back because the ground is so wet you could start them off under cover in cell trays. Come the Spring when they are putting on some growth and decent roots they can be planted out in better conditions.
If you have leaf mould available it is worth spreading it over your veg beds where crops have been cleared. This excellent soil improver can be left on the surface for the weather and worms to do the work for you rather than having to dig it in.
If you have a pond in the garden and icy conditions are forecast float a rubber ball on the surface, which can be removed to leave a ready made breathing hole for any living creatures that reside there. Alternatively, take a pot of boiling hot water and rest it on the surface for a few minutes to melt the ice. Don’t be tempted to use a hammer, as the shock waves are harmful to wildlife, especially semi-dormant fish.
Winter is a great opportunity to rest and restore, both yourself and the garden, in preparation for next year.