Get your garden ready for winter as the nights draw in…

Is your garden ready for winter?

From October until the end of November the days are shorter, chillier and we might be spending a bit more time indoors than we would like – but did you know it’s a great time to get your garden ready for next spring?

Water is essential during the hotter months for producing beautiful gardens and tasty allotment produce. But there are some things we can all do now to make sure our gardens and vegetable patches are as water-efficient as possible during the summer.

Being water-efficient in the garden is great because it means less watering and more time spent enjoying your garden, but it’s also good for the environment and the region’s water supplies – and, if you’re on a meter, it will mean cheaper bills too.

A good way to keep the moisture in the soil and improve the quality of it over the winter is by adding organic fertiliser and topping off with mulch, such as bark or gravel. This helps to lock in moisture and nutrients, and improves drainage.

It is also the perfect time to remove any weeds that will compete with your vegetables and flowers for any available water.

Along with the usual tasks, such as cutting back plants to encourage growth for spring, these autumn days are a great time to tackle cultivation tasks like making new beds and borders, deep digging to help root development or relocating plants. That way, the soil is much less likely to dry out in the process.

It is also a great time to install one or two well-placed water butts ahead of the wetter winter months. These will store rainwater over the winter which you can then use in spring and summer to help significantly reduce the need to use tap water in your garden.

Make your garden wildlife-friendly to help protect small animals during the winter frosts. Create a messy log pile in a shady corner of the garden to attract hedgehogs and frogs.

Remember to feed birds too. To maximise the number of birds you feed leave food in different locations in your garden, for example, on the ground and in trees.

Top tip: Make small holes in a bag and fill up with wet leaves to create a leaf mould. Apply this to base areas where you’re planting bulbs to enhance the soil.

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