Winter is coming - how to you prepare?

Discussion in 'General Gardening Discussion' started by Black Dog, Oct 27, 2021.

  1. Black Dog

    Black Dog Gardener of useful things

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    So with the cold almost around the corner, what do you do to make your garden ready for it?

    We are mostly finished up harvesting everything, did a (hopefully) final sweep to thin out the weeds and are now busy cutting the trees and bushes back. Perennials get their final cut directly above ground and the compost gets a good filling of leaves (although most stay where they fall).
     
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    • Michael Hewett

      Michael Hewett Total Gardener

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      I just leave the hardy plants alone but put tender ones in a perspex shelter. I have fleece ready to cover them in very cold weather. I put my cacti and succulents in a conservatory. I don't do much else until the spring.
       
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      • pete

        pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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        I'm in the process of getting all my pots containing tender plants collected together ready for the big rush to get them under cover in the garage for the winter.
        I get what I can in my two smallish greenhouses but anything that can go dormant gets cut back hard and dried off.
        In the garden and allotment I just tidy up a bit, got trees to cut back and vines to prune before the end of February.
         
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        • shiney

          shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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          We just do whatever we can get done in the time available. That is never enough time so it's just a matter of cutting back, clearing leaves (70 trees makes for lot of leaves :doh:), tidying up, weeding etc. and these also depend on whether we have any people coming round. The only things done to a schedule are pruning of fruit trees, sowing, splitting and planting.
           
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          • HarryS

            HarryS Eternally Optimistic Gardener

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            The only plants we take in are the trailing Begonia corms, and the Canna rhizomes. This year all will be stored in the chill free garage. Last year I put my Canna Tropicana rhizomes in the shed in plastic trugs. The couple of very cold spells we had must have got to them, as non of them grew when planted in March. A bit sad as these were my first Cannas grown from seed about 9 years ago. Fortunately my C. Bengal Tiger were in the garage and have done really well this year :blue thumb:
             
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            • Victoria

              Victoria Lover of Exotic Flora

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              Zero :biggrin: :sofa:
               
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              • noisette47

                noisette47 Total Gardener

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                The wooden/plastic sheet panels were put in place on the terrace today to form a temporary conservatory for the citrus trees and tender climbers. OH will fit the ends with sliding doors over the next few days. The only other things that get wrapped up for winter are the ensetes, but I do that as late as possible, just before sharp frost when it's forecast. October is the start of the veggie-growing year, with peas and broad beans sown, onions, garlic and shallots planted. The polytunnel is partly cleared, but as peppers and aubergines are still cropping I haven't got the heart to rip them out :)
                 
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                • Dave W

                  Dave W Total Gardener

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                  It's a very busy time of year. We've been weeding the veg beds ahead of me giving them a rough digging to let the frost in to help kill bugs and break up the soil ready for rotorvating in Spring. I cut two lawns today just to keep them trimmed and even and still have one to go, but need a dry day. The lawn clippings are really useful at present as they get mixed with the 100s of pears I'm throwing on the compost heap and the heat from the clippings will help decompose the pears and keep the worms happy.
                  Next big task is to cut the taller growth from a mixed hedge about 30m long and then feed the cuttings through a shedder so we can mix it in the compost heap next year - this job usually takes us at least two days.
                  I'm going to leave pruning our fruit trees until next Spring as if I do it now they just put out too much whippy growth when they start growing again. I gave our main apple tree a major cut back last winter - big mistake as it has come back far too bushy!
                   
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                  • JWK

                    JWK Gardener Staff Member

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                    I will clear out the last of the cucumber and pepper plants from my 8x8 greenhouse, give it a good clean inside and fit bubble wrap. I keep it at 6C minimum over-winter. Then all my tender plants get packed in. Strelitzia, Aeoniums etc all keep ticking over, the Brugmansias defoliate and the canna tubers are stored under the staging in compost. Some begonias keep going frost free, most die back to their corms which I store. I have lost my Ensetes the last two winters due to rot, so will have to ensure it is properly dried out before coming inside. Musa basjoo is too big to dig up/move so I wrap it up with fleece, it survives most winters.

                    I bring some of the less tender stuff into my unheated bigger greenhouse alongside winter lettuce planted in the soil borders. There are tomatoes in there right now so I will leave that as late as possible.

                    This week Mrs JWK has been tidying up the finished runner bean plants and cutting back some perennials that are out of hand.

                    I need to do one last mow and a good weed everywhere.

                    At the allotment there is not too much to do, I have a bed of dahlias that I cover with landscape fabric after the first frost has blackened them.
                     
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                    • Black Dog

                      Black Dog Gardener of useful things

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                      Almost forgot...

                      We have some hardy garlic that we plant every autumn. It gets to grow in those now empty beds until early summer when we harvest it and plant some veggies. But since we can't seem to get all of it there is now semi-wild garlic everywhere....

                      I also mustn't forget to get my water pump inside. It sits in our garage where frost is a non-issue most of the time, but better safe than sorry.

                      Oh and part of our winter preparation is to wash our cat beds. They sit on the window sill directly above the heater and come winter I don't get a chance to move them anymore because they are permanently occupied :cat-kittyandsmiley:
                       
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                      • Clare G

                        Clare G Super Gardener

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                        Earlier in the month I emptied one of my two compost bins and used the contents to give the borders a winter mulch; that also gave me an empty bin I can use for dying flowers and foliage as autumn advances. It's been pretty mild here so far with the trees around here only now beginning to change colour; I netted the garden pond last week ahead of next door's cherry's leaves falling. I don't do a massive campaign at any point, just keep things tidy, removing or cutting back individual plants as they begin to get too past it. Hydrangea Lanark White flowered magnificently this year and looks to my mind even better now, with the flowers turned those lovely tapestry shades of green and pink. Roses and salvias are still flowering away and I noticed a big bumble bee feeding from Salvia Amistad this morning. I do have a mini-greenhouse and a shed I can pop tender plants into if we do get an overnight frost (fairly rare here) but most things can be left to get on with it. That said for the first time I've dried off some pelargoniums which had particularly nice shocking pink flowers and am storing them wrapped in newspaper in an airy place in the shed, to see if I can get them to revive next year. I can remember my grandmother doing this - though she hung hers upside down from nails on string, as I recall - so thought it would be fun to try as an experiment :)
                         
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                        • JWK

                          JWK Gardener Staff Member

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                          Thanks for mentioning your water pump @Black Dog it reminds me to bring in my hose spray nozzles and to switch off and drain the water supply to my veg patch.
                           
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                          • stephenprudence

                            stephenprudence GC Weather Guru

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                            I panic and take everything indoors! what other way is there? ;) There is a grain of truth in that I suppose, I'll take some things indoors such as tender plants like Mountain Papaya, Beaucarnea recurvata, my prized Dendroseris littoralis, and some Citrus and fresh insurance plant cuttings as well as Alocasia macrorrhiza.. Other stuff I will put in unheated greenhouse like the tea plants currently, as well as Strawberry Guava, and hardy Cactus and some other hardier Citrus. But a lot of fairly is also left outside planted, as I grow them as herbaceous perennials, such as Brugmansia sanguinea, Sonchus fruticosus, Fuchsia procumbens..
                             
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                            • Upsydaisy

                              Upsydaisy Total Gardener

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                              Cutting back, lifting, storing, weeding, mulching, hedge trimming, netting potted bulbs, sweeping, fruit harvesting and storing, cleaning and preparing the greenhouse for insulating soon, pot and tray washing and storing and more that I've forgotten now.:)
                              upload_2021-10-28_17-11-40.png
                               
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                              • flounder

                                flounder Gardener

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                                Meh, Algarve:cry3:
                                 
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