What to do in the garden when it’s cold


Yes, sometimes its difficult to find the motivation to get out into the garden when its getting cold outside, but your garden still needs attention and will thank you for all your hard work and effort in the months to come.

Wrap up warm and pop outside to enjoy those clear frosty days that often herald the start of winter. With the soil still workable yet nice and damp from the autumn rains, it’s the perfect time of year to turn new beds or improve established ones. There’s also a lot to be getting on with and here are some jobs to tick off your list in the next couple of weeks

General tasks:
Keep containers safe from frost by wrapping them in bubble wrap or hessian.
Take one last cut off the lawn with the height of the blades raised to allow for slower autumn growth.

Ornamental garden:
Lift dahlia tubers once the first frosts blacken the foliage. Trim stems to 15cm then lift tubers. Stand upside down for a few days before storing in just-moist compost.
Draw up planting plans for next year then pop in to Smiths Garden Centre and take your pick of your favourite varieties.
Check plants in containers regularly to make sure the compost hasn’t dried out. Test soil moisture levels by sticking your finger into the compost.

Kitchen garden:
Sow fast-growing salads like radishes, cress and winter lettuces in pots in the greenhouse.
Prepare new asparagus beds for planting in the spring, adding organic matter and grit to help drainage.
Make a seed divider box: write the months on labels so you can file your seed packets when you want to sow them.

Vegetables during winter

Give winter veg a little TLC as they go into the coldest months of the year to make sure your garden stays as productive in the off-season as it was in summer.

Sprouts, kale, overwintering broad beans and peas, chard and winter lettuces all soldier on through the cold. But although they’ll survive without you, you’ll maximise your harvest by giving them a helping hand through the harshest weather.

Damp, rather than cold, is the main enemy at this time of year, as even the hardiest plants succumb to rot if you let them sit in cold, wet soil. For basic plant protection simply pop a polythene cloche over the top. We stock all sorts of products to assist you, from simple canes and garden fleece to more robust cloches and cold frames here at Smiths Garden Centre.

Wind can do serious damage, too. Outer leaves of winter lettuces and chard can be shredded by bitter winter gales, potentially reducing your harvest. Cloches assist here too, though anchor them securely to stop them blowing away.

Even plants built for winter, such as Brussels sprouts and winter cabbage, benefit from precautionary measures. Drive a short, stout stake into the ground alongside gangly Brussels sprouts plants and tie them in securely to prevent gales from loosening the roots, and shore up cabbages by heaping soil up around stems.

Good luck with your winter gardening and remember  if you need any further help or advise just ask in-store.