Brave the cold and benefi t
BUILDING up the courage to venture out into the garden in winter could be likened to standing on a beautiful Tasmanian beach in your togs, wanting to go for a swim but worried you may lose a toe to frostbite.
Once you have taken the plunge though, you realise it is not so bad and you start to enjoy yourself.
With the clear crisp days it is a pleasure to be outside and the benefi ts of the jobs you do in winter will carry on well into the warmer months.
With plant growth slowed to the consistency of syrup, pruning hedges and sculptured plants now will mean that they stay neat until spring.
Pruning deciduous trees, vines and shrubs during winter will promote vigorous green growth in spring.
So it is a good time if you have any fi rst, second or third- year trees or if you are wanting to retrain an old tree.
If your plant has suffered from a fungal attack in the previous season it would be advisable to spray the wounds you make while pruning with lime sulphur.
With the clear crisp days it is a pleasure to be outside and the benefi ts of the jobs you do in winter will carry on well into the
’Some plants such as roses and grapes that are fungus magnets always benefi t from a spray and remember to clean your tools to prevent the spread of funguses from tree to tree.
As the canes of late fruiting raspberries stop producing they can be cut back to the ground leaving any new fresh growth. I like to use a sharp spade to edge around the raspberry patch to control any wayward roots from escaping into other parts of the garden.
Lightly coring lawns with a garden fork will prevent compaction and help to drain water away from wet areas.
Laying beer traps will allow slugs and snails to go out with a bang but by far the most effective way of controlling these destructive gastropods is by hunting them at night with a bright lantern or torch and a bucket. It is one of the few times in the year when it is possible to feel in control of the weeds instead of the other way round.
Because many pest insects lay their eggs on weed species in your garden, keeping on top of your weeds over the winter period can help to avoid infestations of insect pests in the spring.
Winter is a great time to work on soil improvement whether that is by the addition of compost, green manure crops, cultivation or all three.
Although it is important to note that cultivating heavy wet soil will destroy the soil’s structure as well as your back so if the soil is wet, it is worth waiting for it to dry a little before you get out the shovel or rotary hoe.
There are certain days that are so chilly that even the most stoic gardener fi nds it diffi cult – well you don’t have to admit defeat. It can be a great opportunity to get in the shed and give your tools a good clean, sanding and oiling handles and sharpening blades.
So get out there and celebrate our beautifully cold weather and you will fi nd it is some of the most enjoyable and rewarding gardening you will do all year.