As the dark nights are upon us, I know it gets harder and harder to get into the garden but that’s why you need to plan your work now and your garden will thank you in the Spring.

I love to take advantage of bright sunny mornings and do just a few key tasks to keep on top of jobs. I can never find four hours to garden in one straight run but I can often find 15 or 30 minutes to tackle a few key jobs.

Here’s what I’ve been up to this week:

Do a general tidy up

Pull out sweet peas and beans remembering to leave roots in the soil to add nitrogen and make sure you sweep up leaves from the lawn and borders. Otherwise, they’ll provide perfect places for slugs and snails to hide over the winter. This has been a bumper year for slugs so keeping on top of garden hygiene is all-important. I’ll be ordering an organic nematode to see off my slugs in the spring when the soil has warmed up again.

Prepare the greenhouse for winter by cleaning the glass, bubble wrapping it to keep in the heat and check that your heater is in good working order.

Prepare for next Spring

Plant bulbs now to give you an impressive display next spring.  If you want a natural look, throw handfuls of bulbs directly onto the lawn or soil and plant them where they fall.

For borders opt for large clumps of bulbs - you’ll get a much better display. I always plant tulip bulbs in groups of five or more. You’ll find that if you plant tulips in clumps of 12 - 15 bulbs it will allow enough for you to pick for a vase next Spring without it being obvious. I’ve gone for jewel colours this year and to be honest got a bit mixed up with my bags as I planted so the reds, blacks and organges will all shine in a miss match of co-ordination in 2017!

You may also want to think about planting a new ornamental tree – now is the time to pick what you want to come bare root as the season has just started. I still have my eye on a Liquid amber – I love the smell as you crush the leaves -  to add interest next Autumn, or perhaps I might go for an Amelanchier to give me both flower, berry and autumn colour.

By the way, now is the ideal time to plant Japanese yellow onion sets and garlic. My favourite garlic supplier is The Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight. Mr H has done what seemed like a huge order and planted it after the first frost so we are set to see off the vampires next year!

I‘ve also added some glass cloches over herbs which I’d like to pick through the winter, grown in this way herbs like parsley will provide you with fresh stems throughout the winter.

So there you have it, that’s how I’ve been keeping on top of my gardening and looking ahead to the Spring – it’s going to be just lovely!

/blog/winter-gardening Winter gardening As the dark nights are upon us, I know it gets harder and harder to get into the garden but that’s why you need to plan your work now and your garden ... http://ali-hutchinson.co.uk/sites/default/files/wintergardening_blog.jpg

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