Snow Covered GardenIt's that time of year again. Gardeners across the nation are biting their nails to the quick, driving their partners loopy and losing sleep over the possessions that they prize above all else – their beloved plants. Well, maybe we're being a little dramatic, but it's no lie that winter is a worrying time for gardeners.Nobody wants all of the time that they have invested in their back yard to go to waste.

 

Luckily, there are many ways that you can protect your plants and ensure that come spring they'll be right as rain – even if the weather is going to be as bad as they say. Read on, green-fingered friends!

 

Wrap up warm
No, we're not talking about you – we're talking about your plants. An old sheet will do, or failing that you should be able to purchase a frost cover from your local garden centre. If the weather is set to be especially frosty, a quilt may even be in order. Make sure that you don't use plastic on plants, though, as this can end up making them too hot.

 


Plastic – as well as foam and bubble wrap – is great when used around containers, however. If possible, move any container plants to a place of shelter, such as a shed or garage, or even just closer to the house. If you bring any container plants inside, think about whether the environment will be suitable for them in terms of temperature and the availability of sunlight.

 

 

Cover up
Now that your plants are nice and warm, it's time to make sure that your soil is taken care of. If you have any areas of your garden that won't have any plants in them, it's a great idea to plant a cover crop, also known as 'green manure'. Rye and hairy vetch go very well together, particularly during harsh winters and will suppress weed growth and keep soil in place, then break down and provide nutrients for your soil, ready for the spring.

 

 

Food, glorious food
Speaking of nutrients, your plants will need plenty before the big freeze. Give them a layer of compost and mulch so that they're well fed, and try to water them before the ground freezes over when it will be difficult for them to reach water. However, avoid over-watering as this can lead to soggy, cold roots – which will not a happy plant make!

 

 

A frog eat frog world

It's not only your plants that will need some TLC during the colder months – if you have a pond, make sure that the fish and plants in there are looked after, too. Make sure that the pond doesn't get covered in ice by checking it daily when the weather is bad, or consider installing a deicer, which contains a heating element and will prevent the water around it from icing over.

 

 

Get growing
Winter seems like a time when everything dies, but some plants thrive in the cold. Overwintering onions should be planted in November, and carrots are much sweeter when harvested after the first frost. Spinach is also best sown four to six weeks before the first frost. And if nothing else, your garden can work as an effective pantry – bury cabbages, potatoes and carrots to keep them fresh once harvested.
In the clear

 

 

The best gardeners plan ahead, so now is really the time to start thinking about spring. With that in mind, make the effort to clear your garden of any waste and keep it well maintained so that it is ready to sow into come March. Your plants will thank you – and so will you, later on!

 

 

About The Author
This guest post was brought to you by Eric Jennings from the Millrace Garden Centre. Eric is a gardener, and he loves winter and Christmas especially. He likes to spend time outside and particular enjoys seeing Christmas decorations put up.


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