A gardeners work is never finished, there is always things to do around the garden no matter what time of year it is. We certainly do less 'gardening' in the winter but there is still plenty to be done. These are our top tips and tasks to carry out in the winter:
Reduce your watering - Plants need much less water when the weather's cooler. Including pot plants, so make sure you cut back on their watering too.
TIP: If you use a watering can, take the chill off tap water by mixing with a small amount of hot water. It shouldn’t feel warm – just slightly tepid to the touch. This means it won’t shock the roots so much.
Change your timer settings - If you have automatic timers on your taps, it's a good idea to change their settings, or turn them off altogether.
Save the rain - Winter is the wettest season in many climates, so don’t let that precious water go to waste. Install a tank now so that you can store water for the future.
Hose care - Always empty the last of the water from your hose after you finish using it, this is particularly important in frost areas. If you don't intend to use your hose all winter, store it, you could increase it's life span by years!
Provide bird food - Planting native plants which the birds would naturally feed on during the winter is the best way to look after our native birds.
Provide water - This is especially important where natural resources freeze up. Creating a pond or water feature is a great way to do this, check out our blog Gorgeous Garden Ponds for some brilliant inspiration.
TIP: Make sure the water stays ice free - a floating ball does the job, if the water freezes take the ball out leaving a hole.
Create a critter home - Create leaf piles in quiet corners of the garden border or leave a swathe of grass uncut; these offer creepy crawlies and small critters places to spend the winter and provide ground feeding birds somewhere to forage.
Cure drainage issues - If your soil has drainage problems then winter is when they'll show themselves. With a garden fork push holes into the heavy soil. Create surface drains to carry away excess water.
Add gypsum - Digging gypsum into clay, binds particles together and allows the air to get in between the particles, helping excess water to drain away.
Reduce mulch - Deep layers of mulch can keep the soil below cold and damp for three months or more. Removing some of the thickness of mulch will allow the sun to penetrate and warm up the soil.
Move your pots - If you have sensitive pot plants move them indoors, into a greenhouse or into a sheltered area.
Use your microclimate - Planting sensitive plants against warm walls or sheltered areas could help them through a cold winter.
Frost protection sprays - In the lead up to cold weather, water tender plants with a seaweed based solution. Then apply a biodegradable frost protection spray, as the frost protection sprays are biodegradable you will need to apply again monthly.
Cover up - Frost cloth is great for vulnerable plants which can't be moved, it traps the heat in, slowly releasing it at night, and because it allows rain and about 70% of light through it can be left in place for long periods of time.
Winter weeding - Get them out before they seed, weeds come out of wet ground more easily so winter is the perfect time to do some weeding. See our blog War Of The Weeds for tips on weed removal.
Pruning - If you haven't finished all you pruning then make sure you do it before the new growth comes through in the spring. Our Pruning blog has helpful pruning tips.
Rubbish removal - Get rid of any garden rubbish which you aren't composting, rake up the last of the fallen leaves and dispose of any weeds you've removed.
Clean and store - I reduce the number of chairs I have on the decking over winter, but before storing the spare chairs I give them a good clean first. It makes it much easier to clean them again come spring. The same rule applies to the BBQ.
DIY - make the most of a cool, dry winters day by carrying out your garden construction and DIY. Physical work is less tiresome in the cool rather than a blazing hot summers day and any jobs you do now will be ready for you to enjoy in the spring.
Don't let a beautiful winters day go to waste, get out there and get ready for spring, it's just around the corner, it'll be here before you know it! What tasks do you carry out in the winter? Let us know in the comments below.
N.B.. This article has been written for Australian gardens. If you're reading this from around the world, we do hope you've found it a useful stepping stone for your own further research.