Winter has arrived and the weather is much cooler but we are still below average for rain fall and the soil is noticeably drier below the top by a few millimetres.

We are now thinking about the tasks that we will need to do in the Winter. Pruning, planting new trees and the final clean up of the leaves and weeds in the flower and vegetable gardens. Dahlias and chrysanthemums will benefit from lifting out of the ground and stored in a cool dry place protected from the frosts and wet (chrysanthemums are put into trays of potting mix or compost and put into a greenhouse or a sheltered spot).

Frost tender plants will need to be given some protection with frost cloth or similar, or have cuttings taken of plants such as pelargoniums. Tuberous begonias should be lifted, dried off and inspected for any insect damage or rot before being stored.

Now is the time that lime should be applied to the vegetable garden or lawns if the ph is getting too low (6 to 6.5 for lawns, 6.5 to 7 for the vegetable garden).

The height for cutting the grass in the lawns should be raised to leave a good cover of grass for the Winter. I have planted some Spring bulbs around the garden and I have labeled them and also put some small canes around the groups to mark were they are so that I will not damage them when weeding or digging.

Soon new stock of trees, shrubs and fruit trees will be arriving into the garden centres and nurseries. For the best choice get in early to ensure you get the varieties that you would like. Plant your garlic now - for optimum results choose only the best firm bulbs to plant.

Good Gardening,
Michael Coulter

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