Seasonal Tips: November and December

Seasonal Tips – Mid August to Mid October
26th July 2019
Seasonal Tips:March,April, May
6th March 2020

Protection – be it soil, crops, plants, and wildlife is the dominant theme for the winter months. Don’t forget wildlife, too.

For the kitchen garden, this handy month by month guide offers a comprehensive checklist of what to do when.

Cover up:
a) We all get caught out by the first frosts. Better to cover susceptible crops with cloches now, especially leaf crops such as winter lettuces, spinach, and winter chicories.
b) Cover your compost heap. Straw or compost fleece can be used.
c) Protect your soil by adding a mulch of organic matter where possible. Your worms will thank you, too.

Plan ahead :
a) Gather up your leaves and recycle them to make leaf mould. This wonderful free “ gardener’s gold ‘ is a valued soil conditioner and mulch. Its good also to add to homemade peat-free compost. This great 5-minute video shows you how
b) Hedges, trees, and soft fruit can all be planted over winter, while they are dormant and weather and conditions are favourable. Use the biodynamic tree paste. Do not plant when the ground is frozen. Planting instructions for fruit trees
c) Order seed catalogues, and plan to have a feast of open-pollinated varieties to grow next spring.

Prune:
Winter pruning is important for keeping fruit healthy, and for creating the best frame.
Learn how to prune fruit trees with this simple guide, and soft fruit bushes here.

Tidy up:
Often overlooked but over winter, it’s easy for the vegetable patch to look unloved and forlorn, as rotting leaves take over. Regularly removing these to the compost bin will transform your vegetables, and help moulds etc. from spreading.

Wildlife:
There is masses you can do to nurture and protect wildlife in your garden over the winter months.
Water: it may sound odd, but access to water is just as important in winter as summer.
Put a pond on your to-do- list; in the meantime, an old Victorian crock bowl, Belfast sink or something similar sunk into the soil will give wildlife instant access.
Love leaf litter. Protects the soil and provides homes for all kinds of tiny creatures. Hedgehogs feed off many of these. Make a simple shelter for them by leaning a piece of wood against a wall or fence and stuff full of leaves. Find out more on how to attract hedgehogs here.
Create a wildlife corridor: wildlife can’t walk through a fence or open your garden gate. Creating a small gap at ground level will enable more wildlife to move in and out, and is one of the simplest ways to encourage more biodiversity in your garden.
Mini bug shelters: perennial plants with hollow stalks, teasels or large seed heads (poppies, alliums) make invaluable mini bug hotels and hideaways for insects such as ladybirds and lacewings.

Planting Calendar know-how
November:
Activity: Planting out flower bulbs.
Best done on Flower days during Northern Transplanting Time for encouraging vigorous growth and vivid flowers.


December:
Activity: Pruning trees and hedges
Best done during Northern Transplanting time ( also know as Descending Moon, sap flow appears to be slower, making it a good time for trimming and pruning)
NB: Fruit Trees will benefit from being pruned on Fruit Days during this 14 day period..
Activity: Cutting greenery for festive decorations and cutting your Christmas tree
Doing this on Flower days has been shown to enhance the keeping quality and offer a longer-lasting fragrance.