Practical advice: 8 things you need to do in your garden right now for a winter tidy up

While in the process of moving homes this past week, it has made me realise that there is so much to do in the garden right now and, with the moon waning, it is a perfect time.

As I look around my garden and start to trim back plants, I notice all the new self-sown flowers popping out of the ground. The main ones I can see at the moment are patches of new wild flowers appearing all over the garden, which must have been dispersed by the wind.

#1

Now is the time to prepare the ground ready to transplant the new seedlings into, or if you are on the move like me, getting the vessels ready to transplant them.

The phacelia and beneficial bee flower seedlings are coming through too. I find it is always good to transplant these at a smaller size, as the roots suffer less shock. I recommend that you dig deeper than the root and lift with the soil attached.

#2

Cleaning up your strawberries is another great thing to do this week, removing all the dead leaves and compost if they are not diseased. If they are diseased, I strongly suggest that you safely burn them in an incinerator to stop the disease spreading.

#3

I am also lifting my alstramerias this week, as I have nurtured these since a wee first bulb and I just love these for the weeks they last in a vase.

#4

Other plant tasks to do in the garden are to divide your rhubarb with a spade by slicing through the crown. Top tip to remember when replanting these is that they love horse manure.

#5

We are seeing buds move on roses in the more sub-tropical areas of New Zealand and a lot of people are tempted to leave these and not prune. The seasons can be tricky these days, however I am going to prune mine fairly hard with the hope of a good show for summer.

#6

Now is a great time to be planting natives, shrubs, fruit trees, deciduous trees and specimen trees. Remember when digging your hole to make it deeper and wider than the plant root ball. They need room to move and for their roots to grow.

Furthermore, when putting the plant in the hole, make sure there is enough space to put your compost on top and for their roots to be under the surface. Here on Waiheke we have quite heavy clay soil and, when planting in this kind of soil, I make sure I pierce the sides of the planting hole walls to allow the roots to start to wander. Sometimes if this is not done, the roots can just go round and round in a ball and stunt the growth of the tree.

#7

Take action this week to rake up your leaves and either make compost or keep them in a sack where they will turn into rich leaf matter for a spring planting.

#8

You will find that those stubborn weeds with long tap roots, like dock, will release from the ground easier with a waning moon. Soft ground makes for easier weeding all around the garden. However, remember after weeding that it is a good time to put a layer of mulch over the weeded area to preserve your hard work and keep it weed-free for spring.

My challenge over the next week will be to gather the plants I want to take with me. I have been managing and developing a property over the past 3 years and now the project is complete, so it is off to a new garden for me… To where? I am not yet sure, so stay tuned.

Calendula cream will be ready by the end of next week, so I’ll be in touch again very soon with those who pre-ordered.

Happy gardening!

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