Bob’s Blog: The Winter Garden

Daylight hours are shorter, cold is colder, and old Bob Allium is writing his latest blog entry in front of a crackling log fire. The trees will be bare soon and there’s not much in bloom, but hopefully you’ve got some winter color going in your garden with a vibrant dogwood or willow. There’s no time for idle hands, as the months of November and December make work enough.

Battling the Elements & Helping Nature

As winter arrives, the chores you began in early fall continue. They include removing fallen leaves from patios, ponds, lawns, beds and borders. Outdoor containers should be insulated from frost with bubble wrap or hessian taped or tied around the pot. Keep the top of the pot open for watering. Check to see what other winter protection you need. There are various ways to shield vulnerable plants from the cold, including mulching, soil cover and windbreaks.

Place netting over brassicas if pigeons are a potential problem. Put food out for birds (other than cabbages), and remember that birds struggle to find water in freezing weather.

Winter Harvest

December is a month for bringing in crops such as leeks, parsnips, winter cabbage, sprouts and the last of the root veg. Some of those will be perfect on the Christmas table.

End-of-Year Pruning

During these final months of the year, there is quite a bit of pruning to be done. You can renovate rose bushes, for a start, by pruning them when they’re not in leaf. They should bounce back spectacularly the following year. As well, apple and pear trees need winter pruning to ease congestion and boost their yield. This is a good time to prune deciduous trees and shrubs, while they’re dormant and less prone to bleeding.

Your fingers are probably numb by now and you deserve a rest from the cold. Throw another log onto the flames, would you? Season’s greetings to all readers of this humble blog.

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