Charlie Albone’s Winter Gardening Tips!
Don’t be fooled by the dropping temperature, winter is still a time for getting outside. Gardening well in winter will set your garden up for spring and get you on the front foot when the flowers return. Of course there is less to do when it comes to mowing the lawn, doing the edges, watering, trimming the hedges and other gardening jobs that never seem to stop in summer but there is still plenty you can do.
Now is the best time to prune your roses. As they become dormant you can cut them back hard so they produce a fresh flush in spring. I start by removing any crossing or rubbing branches and then I take back the canopy to a few key structural branches. The overall shape you are aiming for is an open vase. This open vase shape promotes airflow through the plant which in turn reduces fungal issues such as black spot. If you do have a black spot issues (like most roses grown in a humid climate) then bag up the branches and foliage after your pruning’s and put these in the red bin (rather than the compost) to prevent spreading. After you have pruned, feed your roses three weeks later with Richgro Black Marvel Rose and Flower food for prolonged nutrient uptake. Once you see new shoots forming give them a hit with the Black Marvel Liquid Food for an instant uptake of goodness.
Whilst you are pruning now is also the time to attack your deciduous trees and shrubs. It’s easier to see the shape of the plant whilst its naked. Remove any crossing or rubbing branches as these will only cause issues down the line and prune out any dead wood too.
Compost is otherwise known as black gold for the garden and it’s so easy to make your own no matter the size of your garden. For apartments there are bench top composters, for a mid sized garden, a tumbler is perfect and for a larger space installing a few bays to collect your garden waste and re-use it is perfect. Compost can be dug through the soil to help retain moisture and nutrients in the soil as well as improving structure but can also be used as a mulch for garden beds that are full.
To make the best compost you need to have a combination of green and brown material; The brown is things like dead dry leaves, twigs, straw and shredded newspaper, green material is kitchen scraps, fresh cuttings from the garden and spent flowers. The perfect mix is ¾ brown and ¼ green, if you add too much green it gets smelly so keep some pea straw or shredded paper handy to add to the mix. Mix this all together, keep it moist and wait, turning at regular intervals to mix the outside to the inside for best results. I also add some Richgro compost and Richgro manure to the mix to help speed things up and bulk it out as I always tend to get through mine quicker than I can make it.
Winter is also the best time to get on top of infestations of pests, they are moving a bit slower now and as such their lifecycle is easier to interrupt so give those pesky bugs a hit with Richgro Beat-a-Bug at two week intervals for a natural way to perfect looking plants.
Whilst you’re getting rid of pests, why not get on top of the weeds too. I’ve had great results using Richgro Beat-A-Weed and with the kids burning off energy in the garden it’s nice to know it’s safe to use around them too.
Once the weeds have been knocked down (and it doesn’t take long with beat-a-weed as its fast acting), cover your garden beds with Richgro water saving mulch to help suppress new emerging weeds and lock in moisture for growth in Spring.
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