The cold has well and truly set in at The Hampshire Allotment. A mixture of rain and minus temperatures has made the plot look very miserable, but the bare, empty beds are allowing me to make plans and get ready for the new growing season.
Whilst the Winter jobs may not be the most exciting tasks, they ultimately make the rest of your growing year easier, allowing you to focus on the fun stuff!
With pathways clear from any encroaching plants and vegetables, now is the perfect time to tidy them up. Whether you have grass paths that need mowing, strimming or re-edging, or paving that needs straightening up or a bit of weeding, get them sorted now.
I have woodchip pathways, which gradually break down over time. This means it’s essential that I top them up each year, preventing the plot from becoming a muddy mess!
Manure & Mulch
If you have chosen to leave any plants, veggies or bulbs in over Winter, mulching is a great way to protect them from frosts or cold snaps. Tubers such as dahlias need a nice thick layer of mulch on top, otherwise the freezing temperatures can damage them.
Last year I added manure to a few of my raised beds, which I then went on to fill with courgettes and onions that grew really well. By adding manure to the ground that you plan on growing pumpkins, squash or courgettes in, will give the soil an added boost of nitrogen, ensuring your vegetables grow well. We are lucky enough to have a huge pile of manure available on our site, perfect for feeding those hungry plants.
Sort Your Shed, Clean Your Greenhouse
Over the last year, my shed and greenhouse have become a bit of dumping ground, chucking all sorts in there to protect it from the wind and rain - it definitely needs sorting.
My go to method is to pull everything out and be ruthless – if you’ve not used it, and you don’t think you will, get rid! Anything you no longer want (that’s working and not damaged), try and pass onto another plot holder rather than adding to landfill.
When putting everything back into your shed, try hanging up your tools to make as much space as possible and create a system that works for you.
By keeping your greenhouse clean, whether it’s glass or plastic, will improve the growing environment for your plants and veggies. Keeping the panels clean and free from algae, moss and general grime, will allow more light in and will prevent pests and diseases.
Specialist cleaning solutions are available, check out your local garden centre to see what’s on offer, whilst household cleaning products will also do the job.
Also make any repairs to your greenhouse before the growing season starts. I need to replace a few panes that popped out during the windy weather, as well as fixing my automatic opener.
Plant Spring Bulbs
In an ideal world, all my Spring bulbs would be in before the new year – however bad weather, holidays or being too full of all those Christmas treats can mean that they get forgotten about (definitely guilty of this!)
But don’t fret, you still have a few more weeks to get those remaining bulbs in, ready for Spring flowering. Be sure to check over your bulbs before planting for any rot or mould and dispose if necessary.
If you do miss out on planting any bulbs for this year, there are plenty of garden centres, nurseries or online stores that offer amazing discounts on any surplus bulbs – perfect for stocking up for next year!
Once these jobs are done, the fun can begin, and the growing can commence!