One of the most important gardening jobs for winter is giving your garden a break from growing. I’m not talking about leaving it completely bare because you can still grow plenty of crops in winter. However, with a little planning, some of your beds can be prepared and rested for your early spring crops.
With any change of season, you’ll need to do some seasonal chores as well. Make a list of things like cleaning up, weeding and checking your plants. Winter also offers a perfect time to collect carbon materials for compost. Take advantage of the leaves and litter in and around your garden and get raking.
As we cross over into the coldest months in Australia, your food garden will literally hit the slow-motion button. It will require minimal watering and even pests will tend to disappear. But you don’t have to stay indoors, there are still plenty of jobs in your garden so let’s go through them.
Gardening jobs for winter
Pruning fruit trees
When your fruit trees are dormant over the winter months, get out your pruning tools because now is the perfect time to give them some love. So many people get scared of pruning fruit trees because they fear it might limit the spring growth. However, if you remove all the dead or diseased branches, the fruit tree will have plenty of energy for the new sprouts. This will also prevent any pests nesting in the wood. You’ll find winter is the perfect time to prune young fruit trees because it will promote lots of new growth during spring.
If you’ve been thinking about moving or transplanting, now is also the perfect time for this job. You can also put in new plants or bulbs and divide your perennial plants. If they go in now, their root systems will be well settled by springtime. They will be able to send energy to the growth areas not wasting energy on repairing transplant shock.
Weeding your soil
Weeding is a given in any garden, especially when we start talking about our chores list. However, we also know that if we leave weeds to go to flower in spring, they will also go to seed and multiply. I’m just saying that now is a time you NEED to weed as a prevention strategy. I would actually say that weeding this time of year is critical to your spring garden.
Clean your garden tools
No one likes cleaning garden tools but they need to be cleaned and winter is the perfect time to get this chore done. You’ll be thankful for it once spring arrives because it’s the last job you’re going to want to do then. Your tools will thank you as well because not only will they last longer they will work better.
Here are some great tips:
- Clean them off by removing dirt and debris with a rag drenched in warm water.
- Check them out for rust, because this will be the thing that ends their life. You need to remove it if it’s present. Try soaking overnight in 50% vinegar and 50% water. In the morning use light steel wool or foil to rub in a circular action. Be mindful you don’t want to scratch the metal just remove the rust. Clean down with soapy water and wipe off any cleaning products after treatment.
- You can give any wooden handles a light sand and a rub with a mix of linseed oil and turpentine to help preserve the wood.
These chores should keep you busy for a while and don’t forget to grow something amazing. There are plenty of choices in a food garden during winter, depending on where you live. Come and join our groups and check out our learning centre for free education and start-up advice. Anyone can grow food, you just need to right advice to get started.