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Posts Tagged ‘gardening in winter’

Snowy Allotment

The weathermen were right the cold weather has arrived, this morning we woke to a snowy winter wonderland there is little chance of doing any outdoor gardening at the moment.

It is too cold to start tidying up the garden, leave dead leaves/vegetation there for at least another month they are homes to many insects and pests such as slugs which although are unwanted provide a welcome meal for birds, frogs, toads and hedgehogs, small twigs/branches will be picked up by the birds to build their nests – a messy garden attracts more wildlife than a tidy one.

Wooden Puddle Duck Boards - Garden Track

It is too wet/frozen to start working on the soil, you can do more harm than good by starting too early, soil can soon become compacted making digging hard work, repeatedly walking on lawns can create a muddy mess, walking on frost covered grass will leave ‘black’ footprints damaging your grass, if you have to cross your lawn why not put down some duckboards they can be easily moved around or removed when not needed and will keep your shoes clean too, they are ideal for laying on your vegetable beds to walk on when you are sowing/planting.

Why not start your gardening year indoors there are lots of jobs that you can do now in preparation for Spring:

  • Have a good sort through your seeds throw away any out of date packets, it is often false economy sowing old seeds as germination rates can be poor and growing time is wasted by re-sowing. Order/buy new seeds, have a look through seed catalogues or on the internet there are thousands of different varieties of vegetables, fruits and flowers available with new varieties each year why not have a change and grow something completely different.
  • Make a Sowing Schedule and a Planting Plan that way nothing will get overlooked and every inch of your garden will be used, have a think back to last year’s crops did some do better that others, should they have gone in sooner, would you grow them again this year?

Onions from sets

  • Onion Sets and Seed potatoes are widely available, buy them early whilst all the varieties are available, choose ones that are firm, disease free and have not started sprouting. Onion sets can be planted now individually in pots, put seed potatoes in egg boxes or seed trays to ‘chit’ make sure the ‘rose end’ of each potato is at the top this is where most of the ‘eyes’ are, place in a light frost-free environment such as a cold greenhouse, polytunnel, porch or on your windowsill.
  • Have a spring clean in your greenhouse/polytunnel/potting shed, de-clutter, re-organise and throw away broken and unwanted items. Wash seed trays, pots, sieves, labels, watering cans, water butts and garden tools with Hortisept Pro Garden Disinfectant, hygiene is very important. Give the greenhouse glass a good clean inside and out with Verritex Pro Cleaning Solution to remove the build-up of algae and let in the maximum amount of light, wipe down the staging and wash out the gutters too.

Sneeboer Mattock Garden Tool

  • Garden Tools are very important and may need some maintenance clean, oil and sharpen ready for Spring. If you already have a Propagator it is a good idea to plug it in and check that it is still working.
  • Buy new compost each year for seed sowing and growing on seedlings and young plants, use last year’s bags of potting compost as a mulch or dig in to improve the soil.

Robin in snow 1

  • Keep the bird feeders topped up and wash out regularly, birds need a supply of fresh water to drink and to bathe in (even if it is cold) bird baths are shallow and will soon freeze up.

Keep yourself busy and warm – Spring is just around the corner (I hope)

Gill

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This week we had a question from Johanna which we thought we would share – along with our advice…

Dear Gardening With Children,

Each of our classrooms has a large flower bed which has just been tidied up.  What should we plant next or should we wait till next year?  Are we too late to plant winter salad or rocket.  How about bulbs?

Here is our reply –

Hello there Johanna
Thanks for your question.  With all the cold and frosty weather it is probably a little bit late to sow winter salads unless you have a polytunnel.

You could plant bulbs now and they will give a lovely display of early spring colour. For our favourite varieties click here

It is worth bearing in mind that some varieties of bulb will not flower until later in the spring though, so if you are planning to sow early vegetables it may be best not to sow bulbs in every bed. There is something magical about bulbs though – the children plant them, forget them and then weeks or months later a beautiful display of flowers appear.

Viola and wallflower plants can also be planted now. They are available at local garden centres and will flower right through the winter months.

If you would like to sow a vegetable at this time of year broad beans can be planted now and will be ready to harvest earlier than spring sown varieties. You will need to buy an autumn sowing variety though.

…And its worth remembering, if you want to give seedlings a headstart in the new year, begin germinating seeds in propagators on the classroom windowsills. 

I hope this helps – happy gardening!

Charlotte

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Growing winter salads is a great way of extending the growing season. 

Whilst the harvesting quantities may be less than during the summer months, by choosing a good selection of seeds there will be goodies to harvest just outside the back door right through until the spring.

Take a look at the Winter Salad Selection Pack  from Recycleworks.  Included are some tasty salad leaves, radishes, rocket, American land cress and winter greens. 

Sow in a Salubrious Salad Bed or one of these Willow Salad Planters, and position just outside the kitchen door for easy harvesting during the colder days.

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