Work in the garden in winter

How to take care of the garden in winter

For gardening enthusiasts, the winter months are the quietest. Cold and rainy days are frequent and require us to spend a lot of time indoors: let’s make them productive by making them the moment to design new areas or study the insertion of single plant elements. We can then devote ourselves to reading books and carefully examining sites and catalogs of plants and seeds.

On the other hand, the beautiful days will be reserved for preparatory work for the new vintage and for the preparation of cold protection for plants, structures and systems.

Cleaning and prevention

At the beginning of winter it is important to dedicate yourself to cleaning the soil from dead leaves. This maintenance is especially important on the lawn: the layer can in fact suffocate the grass, causing severe thinning. Furthermore, the persistence of moisture in the soil can favor the emergence of cryptogams.

In flower beds or between borders, the situation is different: their complete removal is recommended only if in the previous year the pathologies had a strong impact or in particular cases (for example at the foot of roses). At the end of the harvest we recommend a treatment with Bordeaux mixture, on the wood and on the surrounding soil. If cochineal is frequent in our garden we can, in the middle of winter, spray it with mineral oil, perhaps assisted by an active substance against the wintering phases.

Fertilization and protection in the open ground

After the cleaning phase, we move on to protecting the plants from the cold and enriching the soil. To improve its structure and vitality, it is good to distribute a large quantity of organic soil conditioner (manure flour, pellets, cornunghia or compost). We must create a layer of at least 2 cm, possibly covering the entire area occupied by the canopy: the rain and frost will break up the product and the rain will begin to penetrate it deeply.

We can then move on to the protective layer: it is advisable to create a thick mulch with healthy leaves, straw, hay or, alternatively, pieces of dry grass. It is very important to carefully cover the collar of the most sensitive plants, especially if our area is subject to prolonged frosts and strong winds.

Protection of the most delicate plants

We all have sensitive plants in the garden. Usually they are less rustic by nature or young, recently planted. If they are in the ground we can first of all cover the base by creating a mound with soil and a vegetable mulch. The aerial part can instead be covered with special fabrics, used in single or multiple layers.

Sensitive potted plants, depending on their rusticity, can be placed in a cold or warm greenhouse (or indoors, in a little heated but bright room). Geraniums and surfinias should be severely pruned and placed in a cool and shady place, suspending irrigation.

For vases left outside, the greatest danger is the total freezing of the earthen bread: let’s avoid it by insulating the clods with foam rubber or inserting them in a large box filled with sand.

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