Top tips to clear out the garden ready for winter!

This time of year is when some of our summer plants start to die off or are affected by blight, powdery mildew or infestations of white fly. If you live in the wet humid part of the country like me you might be experiencing rot or fruit splitting.

In many of my clients’ gardens as well as my own, I have noticed the yellowing of the tomato leaves, and in some gardens, huge blight problems on tomatoes. The pests and disease have also been popping up all over the show.

To help combat this in my own garden, I am picking tomatoes when they are still slightly under ripe and bringing them inside to ripen.

On Waiheke, we have had two weeks of rain; some light, humid rain and some huge downpours, with thunder and lightning to boot! This has caused rot on some of my potato stems, blight on my tomatoes, as well as tomatoes splitting and the sprouting of spores and fungi.

My advice if you live in one of these wet, humid environments would be to pick your fruit and vegetables at the young stage. Remove yellowing and diseased leaves from your tomatoes, especially when it is windy, as this will heal the wound. For me, this is almost a daily job at the moment!

Avoid cutting leaves off your zucchini plants in the wet, as this in turn could cause more disease, and remember to be mindful not to drop ant of your diseased leaves on the ground. Put them in a bag and either hot compost or put in the green waste at the tip. I am spraying EM and kelp on my plants daily to give them the best chance I can.

On a more inspiring note all my basils and chillis, chard and beetroot are pumping away. With the last moon, I direct sowed some carrot seed into the soil. In the past, I haven’t had much luck with carrots in the soil so I usually grow them in polybins but, after assessing how many I eat, I thought it was time to go bigger with the crop.

With New moon nearly upon us, it is time to think about Autumn crops.

Good sowing times for leafy producers and flowers is from Feb 17th – Feb 26th, remembering that winter crops can take a long time to grow and produce food.

A lot of people don’t seem to bother with winter gardens and I have never understood why, is it because it can be cold and wet or maybe they hibernate in winter???

I believe winter crops are the best to grow, as they are a lot less prone to disease than the summer ones – it just requires a little more patience! Winter veg are so scrumptious to eat when you make a hearty casserole with your carrots and turnips with fresh picked sprouting broccoli on the side straight from the garden or a hearty leek and potato soup… mmmm. Delicious and so, so satisfying.

Remember the weather is a fact of life and growing food is the cycle of life, so it is time to embrace it all.

Happy gardening!


Photo by Syd Wachs on Unsplash

2 thoughts on “Top tips to clear out the garden ready for winter!”

  1. Thanks Claire – you’re definitely inspiring me! I had intended to “give my soil a rest” over winter, but this post says to plant something. Might sound dumb – but what is a “green manure crop” please?

    1. Hi Leonierae, thanks for your comment. A green manure crop is a green crop of mustard, oats, lupins that are fast growing and cover the bare soil, fixing nitrogen and preventing soil erosion. These are dug in before flowering when they will add valuable nutrients to the soil

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