It’s only a few weeks into winter and we’re already getting some glorious rain.
While it might be cold outside, work in the garden will give you a warm glow in both body and mind.
Here are some winter gardening tips from our friends at the Botanic Gardens of South Australia to get you started.
1. Help the rain soak in
If your soil has been dry for an extended period it can become water-repellent (hydrophobic), even after heavy rains.
Look for water pooling on the surface, which can be fixed with a good soil wetting agent and/or seaweed-based additives.
Remove heavy layers of autumn leaves that can stop the rain getting to the soil. Use these excess leaves to make nutrient-rich compost.
2. Get stuck into weed control
With rain comes weeds. Make sure you remove weeds before they mature and set seed.
Weeding by hand can give an effective result. Be careful to remove roots and all, and use garden hoes or tillers for larger areas.
3. Get on top of those jobs
This is the perfect time to get on top of ‘those jobs’. The ones that have been niggling in the back of your mind.
Do you need to relocate underperforming plants to a more suitable spot, or replace them with something else? Do you need to attend to a garden path or fix some irrigation?
Life is busy but once these chores are ticked off your list, you will have time to focus on the more satisfying activities.
4. Veggie patch-up
Winter’s the time to prune your existing fruit trees or buy new ones to put in the ground. It’s also a great time for planting brassicas (such as brussels sprouts and cauliflower), lettuce and Chinese vegetables.
Take the time to tidy up your veggie garden, enrich the soil with compost and start thinking about what you’re going to plant next season.
Check with your local nursery to see if they have any new veggies you’d like to try growing.
5. Take time to prune
Winter is a good time to prune for structure on young deciduous trees. Because these trees are without leaves, the form of the tree can be seen easily, so crossing wood, double leaders and a plethora of other problems can be picked up early.
Hydrangea pruning can also be done now the flower buds have set. The old wood can be pruned out and the shrubs pruned back to those healthy fat flower buds for a good display next year.
Rose pruning is a winter must – any time from July onwards is fine. When you’ve finished, apply a seaweed-based product to condition the soil, which will help the plant with drought tolerance, resistance to frost and attack from pests and disease.
6. Start something new
Put the kettle on and get cosy indoors as you make plans for your garden. Think about whether you would like a new design or theme for your garden.
Is it time to add more shade or to plant native plants to encourage native wildlife into your outdoor space? Birds, bees, butterflies and other little creatures will do wonders for your garden by helping to pollinate veggies and gobble up pest insects. Native bee hotel, anyone?
So when the rain pours and the wind howls, get online to do some research, plan your project and you’ll be ready for action when there’s a break in the clouds.
Need something more to battle the winter blues? Check out these five things to do in nature to boost your wellbeing.
This story was originally posted in July 2019