Winter is the season where most of your plants begin to slow down, lose their leaves and go into hibernation. Before entering those cold winter months, there are a few things you need to do as you prepare your garden for winter so it’s ready to get growing again for springtime. Early to mid-autumn is the best time to get started prepping your garden for winter. Read on for some great tips to get started in Autumn and throughout winter to keep your garden healthy. Keep in mind there may be more than just the garden itself that will need work, such as ensuring your landscape waterfalls and pools don’t get damaged unnecessarily over winter.
Consider your climate
Before we begin, you should take into account what your climate is. Across Australia, winter is different depending on where you are situated. Some areas in the northern half of Australia such as northern NSW, Cairns and all the way across to darwin, all have a warmer climate throughout winter and will need to prepare differently from those that are in colder winter climates. The southern side of Australia, such as Perth, Melbourne and the southern half of NSW all have colder climates.
In the colder climates, it’s generally not recommended to sow during winter, but those in the warmer climates can get away with growing a variety of vegetables and herbs all year round. For the sake of clarity, this article will mostly be useful for those in the colder areas of Australia, but this isn’t to say that those in warmer climates can’t benefit from this article.
Harvest the last of the summer crops in Autumn
Coming to the end of the Autumn seasons, the cool weather may come in faster than you realise, and you may need to get to harvest the last of the summer and autumn vegetables. Softer vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants and squash will need to be picked as they can be damaged from frost and cold weather, making them unfit to eat.
Prepare your garden beds
There are a few steps to take before you begin planting your new winter crop seed. Make sure to clear out your vegetable patch and get to weeding, then once that’s done, turn the patch with a fork or spade to use up any remaining mulch in the soil. Now, you will need to get to laying out a few centimetres of mulch, such as mushroom compost, cow or chicken manure. The worms in the soil will love this and help prepare your soil for sowing. Once that’s done, water the soil and give it 24 hours to soak in, then you can begin sowing new seeds for your winter crops.
Autumn is a great time to plant some winter crops in your vegetable garden, to give them time to grow and mature before the cold weather settles itself in. Some great crops to plant include lettuce, carrot, cabbage, spinach, beetroot and celery.
Get to pruning
Pruning is a great way to stimulate healthy growth, but you need to be careful to know when to prune or what plants should be pruned when preparing your garden for winter. Typically trees and shrubs that flower should be pruned mid-autumn, so they can bloom happily come spring. But most plants and trees are happy to be pruned mid to late winter, including roses. Be careful though, trees such as magnolias birches and maples bleed if they’re pruned during winter.
Pack the mower away
To help your garden grass prepare for winter, strangely you should leave it be. Some will be glad to hear it, while others may be sad. Either way, wintertime is when you should pack the trusty old mower away, and leave the grass in your backyard alone. Grass, much like the rest of your plants will slow down and won’t need cutting throughout winter, unless it really gets out of hand, due to heavy rainfall. If it does need a cut, make sure to raise your mower higher than you usually do, so as not to damage new growth in your lawn.
Try not to overwater your lawn during winter either give it a watering once a week or so. If you’re having an unusually dry spell, give it a light watering in the morning, for a few days until it’s looking healthy again.
Be mindful of the wind
Winter in Australia can be a windy season and prone to dropping leaves and branches all over your backyard and gardens. There isn’t much to it, besides just regularly fallen branches, and leaves off your lawn, crops, plants, and fences to prevent any damage. If you notice a dead or broken branch that’s leaning over a building or fence a little too precariously, it may be best to cut it off. If it looks unsafe to gain access to the offending branch, get in contact with a pruning service to do it for you.
Don’t forget about your water features and irrigation lines
Believe it or not, when preparing your garden for winter, you may need to attend to the parts that don’t grow. Anything that contains water has the potential to freeze and damage your beautiful water features.
So, before the cold settles in, be sure to remove any pumps or irrigation lines throughout your garden to prevent water from freezing in the pipes and potentially splitting and breaking them. If you can’t remove the lines, detach them from the water source, then attach an air compressor hose to one end and blow the excess water out.
Prepare your pool
Your pool may very well also need some maintenance before the long cold months of winter. Unless they’re extra brave, no one really swims in their pools in winter, so it’s best to get it ready for hibernation as well. Check your chemical levels to ensure the right pH and chlorine levels, then kill any algae and bacteria by running the pump for a few hours and treating the water with an algaecide. After that’s done thoroughly clean the pool, and remove any debris in it, so they don’t rot, and cause it to green while in hibernation. Then, clean the filter, ready to cover the pool for the winter months.
Get some landscaping work done
Winter is the perfect time to get landscaping work done because it won’t be as intrusive to most of your plants, and gives your garden time to be ready for you for spring. Perhaps you have some front garden designs you want to be finished over the colder months. If so, get in contact with our team at Waddell Landscape Design for advice or a quote, either by phone or email. Our team of award-winning experts are more than happy to brave the winter weather and get both back and front yard landscaping work done for you.