As the days gradually start to get cooler, avid gardeners around the country are starting to adjust their daily routine to ensure their plants aren’t affected by the change in weather. And while this can simply mean switching around which veggies you grow, it can also mean upping the ante on different jobs that will help to maintain a healthy, lush garden all year round.
Even though the severity of winter differs across the country, temperamental plants and veggie patches will change their tune at the slightest temperature drop with the cold often impacting the growth and strength of plants. So, if you’re new to gardening or you just aren’t sure what to do for the best this winter, take a look at these helpful tips and tricks.
Winter jobs for the garden
One positive about cold weather is that it slows down plant growth making it the perfect time to get on top of weeds. Use winter as the time to remove weeds before they mature and set seeds by removing roots and all with your hands in smaller sections. For larger areas, we recommend a garden hoe or tiller.
It’s also a perfect time to start pruning. Trees that loose their leaves during winter make it easier to find structure and remove problems such as crossing wood and double leaders. Hydrangeas, wisterias, grapes and of course roses are just plants that must be pruned in winter as they leave an open framework to start afresh.
Make sure you spray the plants and surrounding soil with lime sulphur to clean up pests and disease while also applying a seaweed tea (or any low environmental impact liquid product) to the soil and new seedlings for drought-protection as well as resistance to frost and pest attacks.
If you can’t get your hands on a drought-protection product, try moving tropical plants or other warmth-lovers into more protected spots such as a verandah or deck. You should also be cutting back on watering slightly and when you do water, try to do so with warm, but not hot, water to remove the chill and prevent shocking the roots.
Best veggies to grow
Redoing the veggie patch is an inevitable part of winter but it also means you get a whole new season of different fresh fruit and veggies! Winter is a great time for growing things such as brassicas (such as brussel sprouts and cauliflower) as well as lettuce and Chinese vegetables.
Continue growing your trusty carrots which can be grown all year round, as well as spring onions, leeks, broad beans, radishes, English spinach and peas. Meanwhile, now is also the time to throw in some asparagus and rhubarb crowns as well as strawberries – which are always a winter favourite!
You can also look at growing some herbs including thyme, rosemary, parsley, basil, mint and winter savoury. And, towards the end of winter, you can also look at starting the seeds of tomatoes, eggplant and capsicum on a warm window sill so they’ll be ready for planting when the soil starts to warm up again.
Best flowering plants
Despite what you might think, there are plenty of flowering plants that can withstand a drop in temperatures including spring bulbs, winter-flowering natives and flowering hedges. And with some watering, fertilising and bit of extra attention, these flowers will ensure your garden remains drenched in colour no matter the weather!
A daphne flower is great for winter as long as they have some morning sun and protection against cold wind, while hardenbergia needs a bit more shade as do snowdrops and the stunning Lilly of the valley shrub. Meanwhile, a winter rose of course is an obvious one with the winter sunshine encouraging more flowers while bergenia’s stunning purple flowers will grow in clusters and open up during cooler winter months.