Winter is coming, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to ignore the garden.
There’s a lot you can do now to protect your plants from cool weather and make spring and summer life easier.
Tasmanian author and gardening expert Jennifer Stackhouse shares five cool-weather gardening chores.
A good time to move dormant plants
Jennifer says plants in many climates of Australia lose their leaves at this time of year, and if you’re a new gardener or have moved elsewhere with an unfamiliar garden, you could mistake hibernation for death.
“Branches can still be bent and have some green inside.”
She says the benefits of a dormant plant are that it can be pruned and also digged up and moved.
“If it’s a perennial, like dahlias, then these are plants that die underground to form a bulb,” she says.
“You can actually dig them up and share them and put them in other parts of the garden or give them away to friends.
“Or if you don’t want to bother with that part of the garden, you don’t have to do anything.”
Protect plants from frost
Plants, like humans, can feel cold.
Tropical plants and subtropical plants living in a cold winter area may need some protection.
Jennifer uses the example of gardenias and citrus in pots.
“In the winter they might start to suffer a bit,” she says.
“Try moving her to a warmer place.”
She says if frost is forecast the crops can be covered for protection.
Even succulents might need some cover.
“Some succulents are hardy and some aren’t, so I tend to treat potted succulents as not hardy until I know otherwise,” she says.
Learn when to prune
Jennifer says circumcision times can depend on where you live.
In warm climates, roses can be pruned in early winter.
“That’s because winters are short and they grow earlier than in colder areas,” she says.
She says that in colder areas like Tasmania, one should defer pruning for as long as possible.
“Pruning encourages new growth, and then new growth can be affected by cold conditions,” she says.
If you live in a temperate area, prune your roses in mid-winter and in cold areas in late winter.
Jennifer says winter is also a good time to prune dormant fruit trees or remove dead wood and old fruit.
“Evergreen fruit trees like citrus, avocados, and mangoes don’t need pruning in the winter, not every edible plant needs pruning,” she says.
Perennials that die back over the winter can be cut back.
“Sometimes you have a mess of dead and dying growth, so cut everything back to the base of the plant,” she says.
You can protect the base with mulch if you live in a cold area.
A perfect time for lawn care
Winter is the perfect time for lawn care, e.g. B. raking dead grass and moss and patching bare lawn to prevent weeds from filling the space.
“Where there’s bare patches, you can actually buy lawn seed to grow through the winter,” says Jennifer.
If you’re in an area that’s getting bindi eyes, it’s time to confront them.
“They’re a weed that gets a tingle at the base of the plant that sticks in your feet in the warmer months,” she says.
“But the plant actually flowers and sets these seeds in the winter, so they start growing in the fall.
“By the time you realize you have them, they’ve already formed the part that’s going to give you a problem.”
Jennifer says you can use herbicides or remove them by hand with a trowel or fork.
She says it’s also time to remove any leaves from deciduous trees that might be preventing the lawn from getting light.
It can be made into leaf compost, a nutritious supplement to the soil, or placed directly on garden beds.
What to plant in your vegetable patch
Jennifer says winter is always a good time to grow vegetables, and it’s a great time to plant spinach, silver beets, snow peas, broad beans and garlic.
“It will nourish you through the winter and into the spring.
“If you have summer crops, pull out anything that’s old and non-productive and that can either go to the compost heap, or if it’s diseased, throw it in the green bin.”
She says it’s good to dig compost through your bed and put some mulch on top.
“Don’t let it get infested with weeds,” she says.
“Plant some seedlings so you can give the area a little nurturing over the winter.”
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