Autumn Jobs To Get Your Garden Winter Ready
It’s that time of year when the perennials grow weary, the trees begin to shed their leaves, and our once-vibrant gardens start fading into a peaceful dormancy. But whilst Autumn signals a gentle winding down of the garden, there are still plenty of jobs to keep the gardener occupied. From shielding our plants against the harshest Winter elements to early preparations for next season’s crops, here are six things you can be doing to future-proof your garden this Autumn.
Autumn is the time to repair any damage inflicted on your lawn by a hot, dry summer. A good autumn lawn feed should promote strength rather than foliage growth, so avoid using a high-nitrogen summer lawn feed. Instead, opt for high potash, high phosphate lawn fertilisers such as our Miracle Gro, Autumn Lawn Care (£18.99). The phosphorous will promote robust, healthy root growth below ground, whilst the potash will bolster your lawn’s ability to withstand frost and ice above ground, laying the foundations for plenty of lush new growth come spring.
Recycle Fallen Leaves
As Autumn rings the inevitable leaf fall, it’s time to get busy transforming them into an organic, nutritious, and free compost to nourish next season’s crops. Leaf litter can be collected from patios, paths, and lawns, packed into our Haxnicks, Composting Sacks (£8.99) and simply left to break down over Winter. Made from porous organic material to promote aerobic decomposition, these mesh-like sacks allow worms and other beneficial organisms to penetrate and break down the organic matter inside, helping to release the precious nutrients. Come Spring, the leaves will have transformed into a rich leaf mould, which can be emptied out and spread over beds and borders as a mulch, worked through the soil as a soil improver, or added to existing compost piles for later use. You can even lay the full composting sacks in your borders over Winter to provide extra frost protection for tender plants.
Preserve Borders and Beds
Applying a generous layer of mulch to beds and borders is one of the best ways to preserve the quality of your soil and the health of your plants over Winter. We recommend opting for an organic mulching material such as our Lakeland Gold (£11.99). Not only will our bark protect your plants’ stems and root systems from frost damage, but they also suppress weeds from taking hold by blocking the sunlight needed for seeds to germinate. Come Spring, the layer of mulch will help the soil to warm up faster, meaning your plants will bounce back to life sooner. And because wood chips are biodegradable, they break down over time releasing extra nutrients and improving aeration and drainage in the soil.
Protect Vulnerable Plants
As the temperature drops this Autumn, you’ll want to protect your young plants and tender perennials from the harshest Winter elements. Our Frost fleeces start from £6.99 and can be laid over plants to insulate them from frost, wind, and hail, whilst still allowing oxygen, sunlight, and water to pass through them. These versatile fabrics can be used year-round, extending the growing season of summer vegetables, preventing winter root vegetables from becoming frozen, and protecting soft fruits and tender perennials from icy winter weather.
We all know the importance of fertilising our plants in Spring and Summer promote abundant blooms and bumper crops. But Autumn feeds are just as important to the strength and vigour of our plants over the harshest months. Avoid high nitrogen feeds that promote growth, since most plants enter dormancy during Autumn and Winter and aren’t actively growing. Instead, nourish your plants’ foliage with high phosphorous and high potash feeds such as our Chempak, Low Nitrogen (£9.99) which will enhance their strength and resilience to frost and ice. Newly planted Autumn bulbs should also be fertilised with a phosphorous-rich fertiliser that will help them to establish strong new roots ready for Spring.
Even the most robust, age-hardened trees could use a little extra attention as the weather turns cooler. Applying a tree wash such as our Vitax, Winter Tree Wash (£19.99) will protect your trees against in pests search of somewhere to lay their eggs before Winter sets in. Perfect for fruit trees, this organic wash uses natural oils to strip the bark of any debris and dirt that could harbour potential future pests and removes any dormant larvae that may already be there. After the leaves have fallen, simply dilute the solution with water and spray liberally over your trees, taking care to spray any cracks and crevices which are particularly enticing for pests.
Whilst your garden might be slowing down in anticipation of Winter, you certainly needn’t be. So grab those gardening gloves (maybe a raincoat) and get out there!