It’s that time of year again where the garden is needing a bit of a spruce up after the Summer period. Tidying the garden in autumn keeps it looking neat in winter and means that you’ll get a head start next spring. Prepare yourself with all the necessary tools and equipment. Heavy duty brooms and secateurs. Compost bins and garden waste bags. All available from our sundries department.
Here are some of the areas to focus on this autumn ready for the winter.
Tidy up borders
Remove dead/dying leaves and collapsed stems from herbaceous perennials, either pulling by hand or cutting at the base with secateurs. Leave any stems that have seed heads for the birds to enjoy. Remove any weeds, and spread compost or well rotted manure over the soil to insulate the roots. The worms will get to work and churn up the soil over winter.
Collect autumn leaves
Rake up leaves that have scattered over the garden for instant impact. Don’t forget to also remove from borders and pathways. Create few piles of leaves placed under hedges to create a sheltered area for overwintering wildlife. Collected leaves can also be used to make leaf mould, which is a excellent soil improver. Did you know, raking and bagging leaves can burn 350-450 calories per hour?!
Clear away old crops
Clear old plants from the vegetable plot, before they start to rot and become hosts to pests and diseases. Compost non diseased garden matter. Cut down beans and pea stems off at ground level, leaving their nitrogen-fixing roots in the soil to feed next year’s crops. At this time you can also sow a green manure to improve the soil condition.( Green manures are fast-growing plants sown to cover bare soil. Often used in the vegetable garden, their foliage smothers weeds and their roots prevent soil erosion. When dug into the ground while still green, they return valuable nutrients to the soil and improve soil structure.)
Trim your lawn
Nothing sets off borders better that a neatly cut and edged lawn, so mow for the final time this year. Set your mower blades higher than usual to leave the grass slightly longer over winter. To finish the job cut in the edges around your borders with an edging tool or knife for those sharp lines.
Store your plant supports
Cut down annual climbers in borders and climbing beans in vegetable plots. Remove the dead stems and foliage from their supports. With canes and other removable wooden supports, wash off any soil then treat them with preservative. Store them shed or sheltered area over winter.
Clean out nest boxes and feeders
Take down bird boxes to empty them. Old nesting material, unfertilised eggs and other debris may carry diseases, so wash out the boxes with hot water before putting them back. Also remember to clean out feeders and bird baths, and regularly refill them.
Repair damage to raised beds, sheds and compost bins, and paint them with wood preservative. Replace any rotting fence posts, so they don’t get blown down in winter storms. Ensure shed roofs don’t leak by replacing any broken or damaged panels. Replace any broken panes of glass or Perspex in the greenhouse, check vents and fix if faulty
Sort out the pond
Scoop out leaves that have blown into your pond, before they sink down and begin to rot. Also cut back the foliage of marginal plants that have died down. Remove pond pumps and fountains that are no longer in use. Wash them out thoroughly, then store in a safe place over winter.