Yes, we’re only a few days into Winter, but now is the perfect time to be preparing your veggie garden for Spring! Here in the Highlands it gets especially cold in Winter, so make the most of this glorious weather we have been experiencing and get some Winter jobs done in your veggie garden now.
Clear out finished plants and weeds
The first thing to do is to remove all spent plants (perfect for adding to your compost) and weeds. Plants that were bursting with yummy harvests a couple of months ago such as tomatoes and cucumbers have finished for the season and should be removed to make room for new veggies. Ensure garden beds are weed-free so they don’t take hold over Winter!
Repair garden beds, irrigation systems and other structures
If you have raised garden beds check that they are in good condition. Any sections that are broken or falling apart should be repaired or replaced. The same goes for trellises, fences, gates, sheds and so on – getting on top of these repairs now will leave you more time in Spring to focus on growing delicious fruit and vegetables! Check that your irrigation system is working correctly and doesn’t have any leaks. If you don’t have one, consider having an automated irrigation system installed so you can monitor it from your smartphone!
Create new garden beds
Did you run out of space last year? Did your knees and back suffer last season from spending too much time bending down? Perhaps you do not yet have a veggie garden? Winter is a great time for planning your veggie garden. Any area of your garden that gets some sun can be turned into a simple veggie garden, but many people prefer raised garden beds for the convenience the extra height affords, and for helping to keep the weeds out. We found in our veggie garden at home that our young kids were constantly trampling the edges of the garden beds because they were not clearly defined! Since converting our veggie garden to raised beds we’ve been able to reclaim so much space for growing.
Prepare the soil for spring
Adding organic matter to your veggie garden now means that the soil will be ready for planting as soon as the ground starts to warm again in spring. Dig through a high quality organic compost and/or rotted manure (there is plenty of horse poo for sale by the roadsides here in the Highlands!), and cover with a thick layer of mulch. Now, when I say mulch I don’t mean that red woodchip stuff! The mulch in your veggie garden should breakdown fairly quickly so that it contributes to the nutrients in your soil. We love organic sugarcane mulch for this. Make sure you mulch really well particularly around vegetables that remain in your veggie garden at the moment to help prolong your crop.
Plant some bare-root fruit trees
You don’t have to have a big garden to grow your own fruit! Many fruit trees come in dwarf varieties and can be grown in pots. Fruit trees can also be espaliered so that they run flat along a wall or fence. Imagine just strolling into your garden to pick a lime for that G&T!
There is certainly a lot to keep us busy in our gardens at the moment, and with so many of us still working at home during these challenging times it’s a great reason to get out and enjoy some of the lovely fresh (albeit chilly!) air we have here in the Southern Highlands!
If you would like some advice or help with your veggie garden we would love to hear from you!
Licensed Horticultural Landscaper
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