As the nights draw in and we wave goodbye to those lazy summer days, gardening can become less of a pleasure and more of a chore. The work you do in the garden during the Autumn months can reap its rewards next year.
Preparing for the frost
The darker evenings are nature’s way of letting us know that there is a frost on the way. Early in the Autumn it is important to bring delicate plants inside or cover them before the frost strikes. Before the ground gets too hard, you should also clear vegetation away from the areas you intend to plant next year. Raking, weeding and clearing leaf debris is a thankless task, but it does provide you with great organic matter for your compost heap. Even the more hardy plants need a little bit of help with the frost. Covering the base of them with mulch will give them an extra layer of insulation for the roots. This may slightly extend their useful harvesting time.
All is not lost in Autumn; there are lots of things that can be planted and enjoyed over the colder months. Conifers and evergreens should be planted or moved before the soil gets too cold and hard for digging. Spring bedding and bulbs can both be planted, as can deciduous trees. Roses and some shrubs can be planted now, cuttings can be taken and it is also the ideal time for moving these plants once they’ve lost their leaves.
If you prefer vegetables to flowers, there are a few things you should consider planting as autumn sets in. The classic winter growing vegetable is garlic. Garlic bulbs love the frost and they are incredibly easy to grow, quite happily fending for themselves over the winter. There are also several varieties of onions that will do the same. Both take a long time to grow and won’t be ready to harvest until the summer but the flavour they provide is worth waiting for. Spring onions grow a little more quickly and those planted in early autumn should be ready for the dinner table by early in the spring.
If you’re looking for something to give you your fix of green leaves over the winter, you could consider planting perpetual spinach and winter salads such as land cress, lambs lettuce or winter gem.
Other vegetables to plant in the Autumn in preparation for next season include broad beans, some varieties of carrots, early cropping peas and asparagus.
Preparing the lawn
As mowing season draws to an end, it’s time to give the lawn a little TLC to help it through the winter. The best way to do this is by using a rake, preferably a metal one. By raking over the lawn you can remove any dead grass, moss and weeds that have accumulated. The lawn can then be aerated and brushed with sand to allow better drainage and aeration over the wet season. If you need to lay a new lawn, make sure that soil is not too wet. On a good year, this is the ideal time to lay your lawn, giving it chance to grow and strengthen over the Winter months.
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