Alice, Bulbs, Gardening, Gardening Year, Gardens, Greenhouses, Grow Your Own, Plants

When the weather turns colder, the last thing you want to do is get outside in the garden. Flowers bloom and vegetables are ready to be planted and harvested during spring and summer, while winter tends to be the quieter season. However, while your plants are dormant, there’s plenty you can be doing this season to prepare your garden. Laying in the groundwork now can ensure a blooming spring, and help you beat the winter blues.

preparing your garden for spring in winter

Clear the soil

As many plants will now be dormant or have finished their life cycle for the year, now is a great time to clear the soil ready for planting new crops next year. Remove leaves and other debris from flower beds, borders, and your vegetable plot to get back to the bare soil; these can be placed in your compost heap if you have one. You can also remove any weeds or large stones ready for new growth.

Position dormant plants

Take the opportunity to get your shrubs and fruit trees all set for spring now they are in their dormant phase. Now is the perfect time to move any plants you would like to reposition as they are much easier to transport without their foliage. Dig a trench around the plant and try to take out as much of the roots as possible before planting it in its new position at the same level it was previously in the soil. It is also the season to plant any new trees and shrubs in their bare root form; at Primrose we have a great selection of bare root fruit trees, roses, and more. Make sure to prune any dormant plants now to promote growth, develop a good shape, and encourage flowers and fruit.

Prepare the soil

Get ahead with your spring planting and get your soil prepared now. Dig in a layer of organic matter such as compost, well-rotted manure, or recycled green waste so it has time to permeate into the soil so by the time spring comes, it will be ripe for planting.

Clean and stock your greenhouse

Now is the perfect time to give your greenhouse a good clean ready for planting seedlings next season. Sweep out any debris from the floor and benches and wash them with a garden disinfectant. Wash the inner and outer walls with a disinfectant or detergent to remove algae, moss, dirt, and grime, and wash out your pots and seed trays to help prevent disease. Now is also a good time to inspect your greenhouse for any damage, replace any broken parts, and stock up on greenhouse accessories. At Primrose, we have a great range of greenhouse accessories including staging, potting tables, ventilation, heaters, and more.

what to do to prepare your garden for spring in winter

Organise your garden shed

On a dry day that’s not too frosty, take the time to sort through your garden shed. Clear it out and recycle anything you no longer need, check security, and organise and clean your tools ready for spring. It’s also a good time to order any new tools, or put them on your wishlist in the run-up to Christmas! At Primrose, we offer a fantastic collection of gardening tools for a range of purposes.

Remove garden pests

Removing hibernating garden pests now will save you a lot of trouble when spring and summer comes. Inspect the crowns of your perennial plants and remove any sheltering slugs, snails, or aphids. Clear last year’s pots of summer bedding and remove any white vine weevil you find.

Plant spring bulbs

Spring-flowering bulbs need to be planted during autumn and winter in order to bloom come spring.  Take the time to plant bulbs such as crocuses, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, bluebells, and fritillaries before the frost sets in for a glorious display of colour next season. Our collection of flower bulbs and tubers have a wide selection of flora to bring your garden to life.

Install a water butt

Make the most of the winter rainfall by installing a water butt in your garden. Rainwater is the best type of water for your plants, and harvesting rainwater rather than using the mains supply is also great for the environment. Position your water butt underneath a downpipe from your home or shed, or obtain a diverter kit if you have a closed drainpipe.

Plan next year’s plants

As the gardening year comes to a close, now is a great time to reflect on your garden’s performance this year- what worked well, and what didn’t- and start thinking about what you would like to grow next year. At Primrose, we stock a fantastic collection of Mr Fothergill’s seeds, which include high-quality flower, vegetable, and herb seeds to make your garden flourish.

What have you been doing in your garden this season? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

 

 

Gardening, Gardening & Landscaping, Gardening Year, Greenhouses, Plants, Scott, Uncategorized

January can be a quiet month for the garden. It may seem like everything is just waiting for the return of spring but there is plenty you can do now that will benefit the garden later in the year. For January gardening we suggest following these three P’s: Plan for the year ahead, Protect from the cold weather and Provide for the wildlife in your garden. Read on for our handy breakdown that incorporates all of these elements so you can prepare for success this year in the garden. 

General

frosted lawn

  • Compost: it’s the perfect time to begin a compost heap. You can utilise garden and kitchen waste (any organic plant matter) to make nutrient-rich compost year-round for your garden. One of the first things you can use is the Christmas tree! If you already have a compost heap now is a great time to make use of it as a mulch in your garden beds where the nutrients will benefit the soil later in the year. 
  • Tread carefully: your lawn will be very fragile this time of year. Frost can make grass brittle and prone to cracking resulting in yellow and brown patches in spring. A simple way of avoiding this is with garden tracking that puts less pressure on the lawn.
  • Repair: winter can be a devastating month at times with weather wreaking havoc on drains, fences and planters. Now is a good time to take note of the damage and think of fixes and solutions for when the warmer days begin.
  • Tidy up: it’s important to keep on top of the mess that can build up over winter. Fallen leaves can be cleared up and composted or left in a heap for wildlife.

Plants

summer bulbs

  • Inspect spring bulbs: take a look at stored bulbs and tubers to ensure they remain cool and dry. Keeping these stored correctly can be key to successful planting for spring. Having everything stored and ready also makes it much easier to plan for your garden designs and plant layouts.
  • Plant bare-root: now is an excellent time to plant bare-root trees and shrubs as this dormant winter period provides time for strong roots to establish; this is great preparation for the plant to grow strong healthy foliage in spring. 
  • Cut and compost: clear away decaying perennial plant stems and add them to the compost heap. This will help the plants focus on the healthy stems come spring. 
  • Prune: now is a great time to prune trees to shape. Pruning serves two mains functions: 1. It allows the tree’s energy to focus on the areas of growth we want to flourish and 2. Clearing the weight and density of a tree’s branches allows more light to reach the remainder of the tree. 
  • Water planters: plants need water all year round, not just when the sun is out and potted plants rely on us almost entirely for their water supply. Make sure you cut back on watering in winter but continue to water regularly to help keep roots healthy. Make sure you have good drainage and wait for the water to run through and out of the pot. 

Produce

soil cultivation

  • Prepare your soil: the sooner you can cultivate the soil in empty flower beds the better. This will give time for large clods of earth to break down and improve on the soil structure in preparation for growing success in spring. Try to work the soil when it is moist but not soaking wet as you’ll have great difficulty if anything becomes compacted and later dries out. Add compost to the soil to encourage extra nutrition and then cover with a good mulch or even a polythene cover which will help protect it from winter frosts and stop weeds from sprouting early. 
  • Prep potatoes: seed potatoes can be purchased in winter ready for planting in March. You can “chit” the potatoes as part of your January gardening plan which simply means encouraging them to sprout before planting; you can do this by storing them in a cool dry room for a few weeks. 
  • Force rhubarb: this means covering the crown of the plant to prevent light from getting to it. With an established rhubarb plant this can result in early growth that can be harvested when 20-30cm long. 
  • Apply organic fertiliser: a slow release of nutrients is perfect for assisting the slow return of life to plants and trees coming out of dormancy. Organic fertiliser will ensure this slow release as opposed to artificial fertilizers which provide quick shocks of nutrition which would do more harm and good at this point in the year.

Greenhouse

greenhouse

  • Temperature control: with the weather beginning to fluctuate January gardening in the greenhouse can be tricky. It’s best to judge each week or day as it comes. You’ll likely want to keep the greenhouse heated at night with a gas or electric heater, but during the day it may be warm enough to ventilate or even keep the door open. 
  • Clean the glass: you’ll want to make the most of what light you do get in winter and one f the easiest ways to do this is by giving the glass a good clean. For an extra helping hand you could also stick large bubble wrap onto the glass which will help to store and release some heat as well as concentrate the light. 
  • Move plants: overwintered plants can begin to be moved back outside once the sun starts to appear more frequently. It may be best to keep a layer of fleece or other winter protection like a cloche or cold frame with the plant so it can acclimatise gradually to the outside weather again. 
  • Plan ahead: now is a great time to organise the greenhouse with staging and shelves, making sure everything is accessible and ready for planting. 

Animals

bird feeder

  • Feed the birds: this is the hardest time of year for birds were finding food can be a daily struggle. Ensure you give the birds in your garden a hand by putting food out. If you can identify the birds in your garden you can feed specific foodstuffs to help them thrive. Some birds may like mealworms whilst others may only eat seeds or fatty foods. 
  • Provide shelter: giving homes to wildlife in your garden can be the difference between surviving the winter or not. Birdhouses, beehives, hedgehog homes and frog houses can be purchased for specific animals but you can also provide natural shelter with leaf piles, log piles and compost heaps. 
  • Maintain birdbaths: birds need water throughout the year to keep themselves clean and to drink. Make sure you top up your birdbath with fresh water often. An easy way to keep it from freezing over is by adding a small ball that can float on the top and agitate the water. 
  • Clean feeders and tables: keep your bird feeders and tables cleared from debris like leaves and branches so that food is easily accessible.  

 

Head over to the Primrose Instagram to show us how you’re getting on with your garden this month! Tagged photos may be featured on the Primrose feed.

Scott at PrimroseScott is a copywriter currently making content for the Primrose site and blog. When at his desk he’s thinking of new ways to describe a garden bench. Away from his desk he’s either looking at photos of dogs or worrying about the environment. He does nothing else, just those two things.

See all of Scott’s posts.

Alice, Gardening Year

An exciting start to a new season, December is all about the run-up to Christmas and the possibility of snow this winter! Although braving the outdoors could be the last thing on your mind this month, getting outside in your garden could be exactly what you need to beat the winter blues. Gardening connects us with nature and gives us a sense of responsibility, which is great for boosting your mental health. Many plants will be dormant this month, so the key themes are protecting your garden from the colder weather, preparing for spring next year and taking the time to clear up and organise. Read on for the main December gardening jobs.

december gardening jobs

General

  • Protect ponds and outdoor taps from freezing- try floating balls or plastic bottles in the water to prevent freezing, or (unless you have koi karp) switch off your pond’s pump, and make sure outdoor taps are insulated
  • Prepare soil for next year’s crops- dig over empty borders, remove weeds and large stones, and dig in soil amendments such as manure, compost, kept, bone meal, or rock phosphate to get the soil in good condition for spring planting
  • Take care of the lawn- continue to mow the lawn if the frost is not too heavy, but raise the height of the mower blades; spike with a garden fork to improve drainage
  • Continue to clear fallen leaves- fallen leaves could be harbouring slugs and other pests so make sure to clear them from plants, plus the lawn to allow in light and prevent dead patches
  • Organise your garden shed- take the time to clear out your garden shed, check security, and organise and clean your tools ready for spring. At Primrose, we stock an extensive range of garden tools; make sure to add any you need to your Christmas list!

Plants

  • Get pruning– prune fruit trees, dormant shrubs and hedges, roses, and Japanese maples
  • Plant spring bulbs– plant bulbs such as daffodils, crocus, grape hyacinths, and fritillaries before the first frost to fill your garden with glorious colour next spring
  • Take hardwood cuttings– cut healthy shoots from suitable trees, shrubs, and climbers, including honeysuckle, blackcurrant shrubs, and popular trees, and plant in the ground or in a pot to propagate new plants
  • Lift and store dahlia tubers– these tender perennials need protection from the colder weather, so lift the dormant roots and stems to store indoors and plant back outside next spring
  • Cluster container plants together– as their roots are more exposed to the elements, move shrubs and bedding plants growing in containers to sheltered spots and cluster together for protection from the colder weather
  • Propagate oriental poppies– these plants can reproduce from any scrap of root so are perfect for propagation; trim off sections of the roots then plant into a seed tray to grow new plants
  • Check tree ties– check any tree ties to make sure trees are protected from strong winds and the tree stems will not be damaged by ties that are too tight; replace any ties that have frayed or broken
  • Collect Christmas decorations– collect seasonal foliage such as ivy, yew, and fir, along with brightly coloured stems and berries to decorate your home for the festive season

Flowers to sow this month: sweet peas, geraniums, thunbergia, hardy cyclamens, snapdragons

december gardening jobs

Produce

  • Harvest root crops– harvest leeks, winter cabbage, parsnips, sprouts, and any other remaining root crops for a fantastic harvest this Christmas
  • Protect from the frost– now the weather is getting colder and we may be getting frost, it’s important to make sure your plants are protected. Shop our frost protection range for fleeces, cloches, and other equipment to weather-proof your garden
  • Protect winter cabbages– keep an eye out for yellowing leaves and remove them as they appear as they may be harbouring diseases such as grey mould and downy mildew, and cover with netting to protect from pigeons
  • Divide rhubarb clumps– division will provide a plant identical to the parent so it’s a great way of propagation and renewing the vigour of weak or overcrowded plants; divide the crown into sections with a spade and replant
  • Protect fruit trees from moths– apply glue bands or grease bands to the trunks to prevent wingless winter moths from laying their eggs in the tree
  • Clear the vegetable plot– as most vegetables are now dormant, take the opportunity to finish clearing old crops and debris to prepare for spring; you can also use this time to install paths and paving
  • Plan next year’s vegetable garden– now is the time to reflect on what worked this year, and plan what to grow next year. It’s also a great time to order seeds ready for planting in spring; our new range of seeds from Mr Fothergill’s provide a range of high-quality flowers, vegetables, and herbs. You could also purchase one of our Raised Beds for the perfect space to grow them in

Produce to sow this month: onions, garlic, broad beans, gooseberries, currants, blackberries, strawberries, mustard

Greenhouse

  • Clean your greenhouse– if you haven’t already done so, make sure to clean your greenhouse thoroughly; wash and disinfect capillary matting before storing away
  • Water plants sparingly– make sure plants are hydrated but keep the greenhouse as dry as possible to reduce the risk of disease
  • Combat pests– check overwintering plants for pests such as aphids and red spider mite, treat if necessary using a general insecticide
  • Maintain plants– pick faded leaves and dead flowers from plants that are being stored in the greenhouse over the winter
  • Remove snow– make sure to brush any snow off the top of greenhouses and cold frames to make sure the glass does not get damaged

Plants to sow in the greenhouse this month: basil, dill, chives, parsley, winter lettuces

Animals

  • Provide fat-rich food– birds expend a lot of energy in the winter just keeping warm, so make sure to provide fat-rich food such as suet, peanuts, and sunflower hearts to help them stock up. Our Whole Suet-Filled Co-Co Feeder provides the perfect high-energy feast, and you can shop our full Wild Bird Care range to take care of our feathered friends this winter
  • Top up the bird bath– birds need fresh water to drink and bathe in, so make sure to keep your bird bath replenished
  • Avoid turning compost– critters such as hedgehogs may be hibernating in your compost heap, so avoid turning your compost this month, or proceed with caution
  • Provide a bee refuge– bees also hibernate during the winter, so make sure to provide a safe space with one of our bee hotels. Our Seasonal Bee Nesting House is the perfect haven for bees that will help your garden thrive next summer
  • Create a log shelter– make a pile of logs in a corner of your garden to provide shelter for toads and other wildlife

Let us know what’s happening in your garden this month by getting in touch on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

You can download a printable version of this checklist below:

Download Here

Liked this post? Make sure to pin it on Pinterest!

 

december gardening jobs checklist

Alice, Gardening, Gardening & Landscaping, Gardening Year

The weather is getting colder and Bonfire night is on its way. Now autumn is slowly turning into winter, it’s time to prepare your garden for the colder months and sow the seeds for the summer. So we have put together a list of November gardening jobs to help you make the most of the last of the harvest season.

november gardening jobs

General

  • Create a compost heap– fallen leaves and dead plant material can make great compost, so make sure to set up a compost heap or bin if you haven’t already
  • Collect fallen leaves– keep your garden looking tidy and keep any fungal spores, slugs, and snails at bay
  • Revamp your fencing– now the foliage is dormant, it’s a great time to inspect your fencing. We have a wide range of traditional and contemporary fencing if it’s time to replace
  • Prepare a bonfire– with Bonfire Night approaching, prepare a space in your garden to create a bonfire and start collecting logs. A fire pit makes a striking focal point, and a log store provides a ready supply of logs

Plants

november gardening jobs

  • Protect from the frost– standard terracotta planters often break in cold weather, so consider our frost-resistant fibrecotta. For plants in flower beds, a cold frame or cloche fleece provides instant protection
  • Raise plant containers– raise pots off the ground for the winter using bricks or pot feet to prevent them from becoming waterlogged
  • Prune rose bushes- prevent wind rock (swaying in the wind and the roots becoming loose) by pruning roses by one third to half their height
  • Cut back herbaceous perennials– cut back the yellowing foliage of any flowering plants, then life and divide any overcrowded clumps
  • Plant tulip bulbstulip bulbs to bloom in spring next year are best planted in late autumn to prevent the tulip fire disease
  • Move dormant plants– if you need to relocate any plants or fruit trees, now is the time to do so while they are dormant

Produce

  • Harvest parsnips– now is the perfect time to harvest any parsnips, as their flavour will have sweetened
  • Spread manure across the vegetable beds– this will rot down over the winter
  • Plant bare-root treesbare root refers to trees dug and sold while they are dormant. They are sold during autumn-winter, so shop and plant any fruit you want to grow next summer
  • Prevent moth damage– protect fruit trees from winter moth caterpillars by placing grease bands around the trunks

Greenhouse

november gardening jobs

  • Stock up on greenhouse accessories– now you’ll be spending more time in your greenhouse, make sure to stock up on accessories, including a heater to maintain the temperature and staging to hold your plants
  • Install solar lights– now the evenings are getting darker, install some solar lights so you can check on your plants during the winter evenings
  • Propagate perennials– grow new perennials including verbascum, phlox, and oriental poppies by taking root cuttings
  • Sow winter herbs– sow Mediterranean herbs such as thyme, sage, and parsley for a fresh supply during the winter

Animals

november gardening jobs

  • Encourage feathered guests– birds can bring life to your garden and help keep pest numbers down, so make sure to welcome them with a bird feeder and a birdbath
  • Clean out nest boxes– if your nest box has been used over the summer, take the time to clean it out to reduce the risk of bird parasites
  • Place a net over any ponds– use a pond net to prevent any leaves falling in and keep predators at bay
  • Create a hibernation habitat– around this time, wildlife such as hedgehogs will be hibernation for the winter, so make sure to offer them a safe refuge with one of our hedgehog houses

November gardening jobs can see you doing all sorts but be sure to keep yourself warm! As the weather turns colder, you can also check out our range of heated gloves and clothing to keep things toasty as you tend to your garden!

Let us know what you’re up to in your garden this month on Twitter or Instagram!

Alice at PrimroseAlice works in the Primrose copywriting team. She spends her days here writing gardening product descriptions and cracking blog posts.

Outside work, Alice is writing a fiction novel and runs her own blog. She also enjoys travel, good food, and tarot reading.

See all of Alice’s posts.