Get your prep on for the new year for bright times ahead.
As the autumn colours begin to fade in your garden (sob), and it everything slows down to a trickle, preparation for next year is on the cards from planning your beds (elaborate sketches encouraged), bulbs and early seedlings to any frost guarding you might need to do.
Here is our list of things to keep the garden humming along, enjoying the changing days, different light and wind down to the end of the year.
cut + nectar flowers
If you haven’t already, now is a great time to sow your sweet peas for next year. Keep them under cover over winter or on a windowsill.
If you have perennials like oriental poppies, acanthus and mint in your garden, now is a good time to take root cuttings whilst they are dormant.
Plant the last of your bulbs like tulips and continue force growing bulbs for indoors like paper whites and hyacinths.
Keep an eye on your bulbs stored to make sure they don’t rot.
Pick the last of your dahlias and collect sculptural seed heads for dried arrangements.
At this time, start planning your garden for next year. If you are planting in beds, it is good to move crops around. If you plant in the same place, you are more likely to have a build up of pests. Gardeners group veggies into the below categories, roots, brassicas, legumes (peas, beans) and everything else (potatoes, onions, tomatoes). Rotate in these groups to keep your plants good and healthy.
Plant pea tips, great for a bit of fresh salad greens over the winter months.
Plant garlic, it will be a slow start but will shoot up in the spring.
So hardy peas under fleece to get ahead for the spring growing season.
Dig over your veg beds as the crops are finished. Cold weather can often break down any big clumps of soil, leaving good drainage ready for sowing.
Cover any productive salad plants like salad rocket or perpetual spinach.
Sow winter herbs like coriander and parsley in containers. Get a 20cm pot, with great drainage holes in the bottom, fill with compost and sow your seeds. Cover the pots, to enclose the moisture and put them somewhere warm to germinate.
Continue to grow herbs inside, chives, parsley, mint all will do well on a sunny windowsill.
Bring some extra goodness to your salads growing micro greens in your kitchen, you can try komatsuna, red amaranth or kale.
Here is what you could be eating fresh if you grew them in your garden next year:
Garden greens: kale, brussel sprouts, carrots, rocket, pumpkins and spinach
Edible flowers: violas and nasturtiums
Garden herbs: parsley, coriander, mint and thyme
Cut flowers: last of the dahlias
Water pots outside if you have experienced a very dry spell.
Be sure that all your containers and pots are lifted off the ground to avoid them getting flooded.
Keep up with clearing your lawn to avoid brown patches, if you have room you can make leaf mould bags or pile them into the compost.
Protect any special or ceramic pots you have by bringing them under cover or wrap them in fleece to stop them cracking.
Empty any well-composted bins and spread over bare soil.
Have a go at making a diy bird feeder. Leave seed heads on plants, berries on tables. Birds in your garden will keep the pest numbers down.