Winter Garden Maintenance

Essential Garden Maintenance Tips for Winter – That Actually Work!

Introduction

Everyone knows that a garden needs three elements to survive and thrive: soil, water, and good ol’ sunshine. This isn’t a problem most of the year, especially in sunny springtime or warm summers. But when the winter months roll around, maintaining your garden can be quite the challenge.

Fortunately, gardening can be a year-round activity if you know what you’re doing. Here are some of the steps you can take to protect your Australian garden during winter, prepare for spring…and reap the benefits next season.

Change Up Your Soil’s Feed

While adding fertilizer and nutrients to your soil can help produce larger plants and bigger blooms, adding too much all the time can alter the chemistry of your soil and impact your plants’ growth.

It’s worth giving your garden a rest every once in a while. Winter is the perfect time to lay off the high-nitrogen feed and switch to a low-nitrogen one. This will allow your soil to recalibrate, preparing it for the fruitful spring ahead!

Move Potted Plants

If you have some potted plants that have been soaking up that sweet summer sun, you may find they will start to struggle with the reduced light. All you have to do is move them somewhere warmer and safer. This could mean making space for them indoors or even just setting them up in a different location on your porch.

To provide an extra level of protection (especially if those pots are way too heavy for you to move them inside), spray your plants with an anti-transpirant like Yates Stressguard. These products protect your plants against extreme climates and damage, especially during winter.

Potted Plant

Add Colour To Your Home

Winter is often associated with boring or dull colours like whites, browns, or greys. But that doesn’t have to be the case! In fact, Australia is home to many beautiful winter-blooming flowers that will add a bright pop of colour to an otherwise drab season.

Fill your home with pansies, polyanthuses, fuschias, jasmine flowers, and irises. Plant them before the cold season gets in full swing, and make sure you water them regularly. Some will even continue to bloom into the summer, giving you cheer all year round.

Fuschias

Clean Up Your Yard

Cold weather isn’t an excuse to neglect your garden! Keep busy throughout the winter months by raking up leaves, removing twigs and sticks from the ground, and getting rid of other debris. You can add leaves, bark, and other small biodegradable things to a compost heap to beef up fertilizer in the future.

For larger branches and wood, chop them up into an easy-to-handle size. You could use these in your fireplace or on the barbecue grill, or even use them to reinforce your other plants.

Protect Your Current Plants

You don’t have to dig up your plants and start all over from scratch in the spring. Protect your plants instead. Add supports to your current crops using wooden sticks or twigs. When the temperature drops, cover them with a protective piece of cloth or plastic. Just make sure that you remove it during the day or warmer periods as not to overheat your plants. And don’t forget the Yates Stressguard!

Use Winter-Friendly Plants

If you do want to switch out your garden’s produce, you have a ton of options. There are many frost-tolerant plants that can survive in cold weather. Start now, and you’ll have more than enough time to get your garden ready for a winter bloom!

First, clear out your soil, remove the weeds, and cut down dead plants. Next, you’ll want to cultivate your plants until they’re developed and strong enough to withstand the frost.

Some vegetables are perfect for the winter season. You can grow lettuce, peas, broccoli, spinach, onions, and potatoes. Indoor herbs in small pots (think oregano, thyme, and garlic) will keep your kitchen stocked for the months to come. Strawberries are also a great cold-weather crop to consider.

Prepare tomato or capsicum seedlings in small pots. You may not be able to plant them just yet, but if you do this at the start of winter, they’ll be ready in time for spring.

Reintroduce Moisture Back Into The Soil

While we’re on the topic of taking care of your soil, there’s another thing you should do for your lawn in the wintertime. If your garden gets a lot of heavy use throughout the year, or if it’s feeling rather dry and compact even after watering, it might be time to aerate your lawn.

Aeration is a pretty simple process that adds moisture back into dry soil. Start with wet or moist soil. You can use a regular garden fork if your garden is small enough or a powered aerator for larger yards.

Drill or poke holes into the soil. Loosen the topmost layer of soil. After, sprinkle a layer of compost, sand, or loam. When spring hits, you can fertilize your garden and start planting.

Tidy Up Your Plants

The easiest time to prune and tidy up your plants is when they’re not in bloom. You’ll have no problem spotting dead or invasive plants! This will protect your spring-flowering shrubs from getting infected by old or dead plants.

Roses, in particular, need to be pruned during this season. Not only will it help your plants resist pests and the winter cold, but it’ll also promote stronger roots and better blooms.

Roses

Save Up On Water

One of the few gardening pros of the winter season is that colder weather equals less water needed to keep plants happy. During this period, you don’t have to water your potted plants as much as you would in spring or summer. You can reprogram any automatic sprinklers to use less water. This prevents waterlogged soil and fungal diseases from penetrating your garden.

Extreme temperatures can damage your plants. Make your water more plant-friendly by adding a little bit of hot water to the mix. The ideal temperature should be neither warm nor cold, but slightly lukewarm.

Improve Soil Drainage

Bad drainage is a plant’s #1 enemy. If the soil retains too much water (especially in cold, wet seasons like winter), your garden becomes the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and fungus. Remove thick layers of mulch to avoid excessive dampness. Add drainage channels and route the flow of water onto your street or driveway. Installing your own garden drainage system is a fun DIY project you can take on in the months leading up to winter, and it will benefit your lawn for the years to come!

Control Winter Pests

Unfortunately, the cold weather doesn’t drive away pests…it actually seems to invite them. Keep your garden clean and free of these pesky bugs and creatures during winter.

Instead of turning to chemical pesticides, try the natural route and plant pest deterrents. These are usually planted with strong scents that confuse or repel creatures. Aphids and thrips don’t like roses or onions, so add a few of those to your garden to get rid of them for good.

You can also make a bug trap by pouring some beer into a jar, and planting it into the soil. It’ll attract (and drown) little critters like snails and slugs.

Aphids on Roses

Wrapping It All Up!

We know you love your garden, we love ours too! Even though Australian winters can be a great excuse for staying inside, take the time to pull on the gloves and give your garden a bit of TLC. Simply follow the advice you’ve just read in this garden maintenance article and you’ll have a healthy, happy garden ready for a whole new season of planting and blooming come spring-time! Now….where are those gloves.

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