Have you been waiting for spring so you can get back to work in the garden? While the more enjoyable garden “tasks” such as sampling vine ripened tomatoes and cutting beautiful bouquets may happen in late spring and summer, we gardeners are actually busy all year round. There’s always something to do outside, even in the winter months when you need to work extra hard to ensure your garden is protected in the cold weather. Here’s a simple guide to gardening month by month. Following this guide will help your outdoor area look great all year round! *This post contains affiliate links and/or sponsored content.
- Add food for birds and wildlife.
The weather during the winter months will be very harsh for all the little garden birds that you regularly see from your window. Some will migrate to southern climates where it is warmer, but there will still be some that hang around. Help them and other wildlife out by filling your feeders with plenty of food.
- Check tender plants are still protected from the cold.
Hopefully, in December you protected all of your fragile and tender plants from the cold. You can do this by simply covering them with a soft fleece or some straw. Now is a good time to check this protection to make sure it’s still doing its job.
- Wash your decking.
When the weather is quite bad, your decking could end up getting dirty. Plus, excess rain might turn it green as it could promote the growth of moss and mildew. To prevent this, simply clean the decking with some warm soapy water.
- Make sure your pond doesn’t freeze over.
February is by far the coldest month usually, which puts your pond at risk from freezing over during this time. That is bad news for any fish that live in it as it will prevent any oxygen getting to them. If you notice that there is ice over the pond, simply crack the top so that air can get through to the water.
- Prepare your flower beds for new seeds and bulbs.
It’s a good idea to spend some of February digging up your flower beds to aerate the soil. This will prepare them for when it is time to plant your new plants, seeds, and bulbs from next month onward.
- Plant shrubs and rose bushes.
Ideally, all of your shrubs and rose bushes need to be planted toward the very end of March. This ensures that they have plenty of time to gestate before they are ready to flower. So, this is your very last chance to do this job for this year!
- Deweed your garden.
You might have noticed that quite a few weeds have started popping up in your garden over the last couple of months. Weeds love winter because all the wet weather makes the perfect growing conditions for them. So, you should go around your garden and deweed it all now. Even though more will crop up over summer, it’s a good idea to clear it out now so that your plants have the best chance of growing over the spring and aren’t competing for space and resources with weeds.
- Plant any bulbs that will flower in summer.
Don’t forget to plant all your bulbs that will be flowering between June and September. You can’t afford to wait any longer as they won’t be ready in time!
- Get back into the habit of mowing your lawn.
Now that the weather will start to improve, it’s time to get back to mowing your lawn on a regular basis. Ideally, you should be doing this once a week. That way, you can keep your lawn neat and tidy even when it is growing fast in the summer heat.
- Start watering houseplants more regularly.
During the winter months, you won’t have to water your houseplants too often as it won’t be that hot. But now that the mercury is starting to rise in the thermometer, it’s important that you get back into the habit of watering them. This should be done at least once a week but some plants that love their water will need to be done more frequently.
- Clean your pond.
Right before summer is also a good time to sort your pond out. First of all, make sure that there is no dead organic material in them. This should be removed and can be composted. Sludge should be removed too, but cannot be composted. Check out edenproject.com for more tips on what you can and can’t compost.
- Protect your garden from pests.
Your garden will be at a higher risk of pests during the warmer months so now is a good time to start to protect it. Mix up some organic pest killers to spread on your garden. It’s also worth adding some homemade traps so that you can catch creepy crawlies that will nibble on your flowers.
- Make sure sprinkler system is ready for summer.
During the height of summer, you will need to water your garden twice a day. Don’t have time for that? No problem; you can use sprinklers. If you already have some installed, you should now check them to make sure they still work. If you want to add some to your garden you can find out more from proirrigation.com and take a look at the different systems.
- Dig up your potatoes.
If you have a veg patch that is full of potatoes, now is the time to dig them up. Don’t leave them too long as they could go bad in the soil and you might have to discard them.
- Take your houseplants outside.
If you have kept some of your most fragile plants in your home during winter, you can start to take them outside now. The weather should be warm enough for them to be in the garden without suffering any damage.
- Cover fruit bushes with soft netting.
To make sure that your berries and other fruit don’t get eaten by all the birds that will visit your garden in the summer, you should cover all of your fruit bushes with netting. Your local garden center will sell some netting that is soft enough so that it doesn’t damage the bush and its flowers.
- Support climbing plants properly.
Your climbing plants should be quite big by now and will need extra support to keep upright.
- Add more water to your ponds.
If the summer is a particularly hot one, your ponds could look like you need to give them a long drink. So that’s exactly what you should do! Don’t use water straight from the tap, though, as this could be bad for the fish. Instead, use rainwater that has collected in rain barrels.
- Clear out stragglers.
In height of summer when the weather is at its warmest you might have some wilted and withering annuals or vegetables in your garden. Take time to remove any spent flowers and weed around flower beds.
- Begin planting some fall and winter veggies now.
- Enjoy cutting and arranging bouquets of fresh summer flowers from the garden.
- Plant new trees, roses, and shrubs.
September is the earliest you can start planting new trees, shrubs, and rose bushes. You can continue planting these until the end of the winter.
- Tidy up any fallen leaves in the garden and add to compost.
During the autumn, you will have to deal with fallen leaves. Collect them all and add them to your compost so you can use them on your garden once they have decomposed.
- Make sure greenhouse heaters are working properly.
You will need to utilize your greenhouse a lot over the winter. It will help some of your fragile plants to survive, and it also allows you to continue growing tomatoes and other small vegetables through the winter. So, make sure that the heaters are working as they should so that the temperatures are always high enough.
- Clean your bird boxes and start to top up with food again.
Birds shouldn’t have started to nest in your bird boxes just yet. There should still be time to give them a quick clean out before they make their home in them for the winter. Don’t forget to start topping up your feeders with food again too!
- Take a look at your houseplants to make sure the central heating isn’t drying them out.
Now that you will have the central heating back on, it’s important to make sure that it isn’t drying out your houseplants. If some of your plants look a bit too dry, move them away from radiators.
- Fill any gaps in your beds and borders.
Not all of your plants will survive winter, and when they die they will create gaps in your beds and borders. You might want to fill these in by planting an evergreen or simply covering with some decorative stones and pebbles.
- Protect your tender plants from the cold.
Now is the time to ensure that all of your plants that are meant to survive the winter actually do. Take some time to spread straw or place a fleece material around your fragile plants so they stay nice and warm despite the cold weather.
It would also be useful to install a personal weather station to ensure you get accurate weather forecasts throughout the year.
As you can see, there is always something to keep you busy in your garden. I can’t wait to have some milder weather so I can get outside and clean up the flower beds to get them ready for spring planting. Now I am off to pin some beautiful garden ideas. I will be sharing an inspirational spring garden post with you soon!