It might be getting a bit chilly outside and (as John Snow would say) winter is coming, but that doesn’t mean you should let your garden hibernate through the colder months. The next few months are the perfect time to grow winter crops and plant spring flowers.
As with all things, preparation is the secret to success so to prepare your winter garden, remove all of the finished plants and pull up any weeds, making sure you get the roots out as well, as these will compete with your new plants for the nutrition that’s in the soil.
Dig over the whole area with a fork, mixing in any mulch that was still sitting on the top of the garden bed. You should end up with a nice crumbly soil. Next, dig a layer of compost lightly into the soil and you’re ready to go - but remember to spread plenty of mulch around once your new plants are in.
If your garden is in the sort of shape that a dig over isn’t going to help, it may be time to think about investing in some raised garden beds, especially if you want to grow a productive garden that’s full of fresh vegetables. When you create a raised garden bed, you’re essentially starting fresh with the ideal soil blend, so it doesn’t matter what the condition of the soil on your property is like.
There’s an enormous range of raised bed options available from hardware and garden shops, or if you’re handy on the tools you can make your own. Ideally, you want a bed that has a depth of at least 30cms so your plants have plenty of nutrient-rich soil in which to grow.
If you want to create a great winter vegetable garden, it’s important to choose the right crops. Many vegetables actually prefer the winter and find it hard to tolerate the hotter months where they can quickly turn to seed.
Spinach is a perfect vegetable to plant in winter because seeds will germinate in temperatures as low as 2oC, and the young seedlings are frost tolerant. Other vegetables to start planting are broccoli, broad beans, cabbage, peas, parsnips, Asian greens (such as bok choy) and brussels sprouts (if the thought of eating a Brussels sprout makes you want to heave, just wait until you taste one fresh from the garden, especially if it’s roasted with chilli, garlic and bacon).
Raising vegetables from seed can add weeks to the time it takes from planting to harvesting your delicious fresh vegies, so it’s a good idea to buy seedlings to plant at this time of year, or get some seeds sprouting indoors before you plant them in the garden.
For a beautiful spring garden that’s bursting with colour, winter is the time to start planning and planting. Some bulbs flower early while others are late bloomers so a little preparation now will see your garden flowering right through spring. If you want to find the best winter flowers to plant where you live, abouthegarden.com.au has a great guide to planting by regional zone.
Hyacinths are a welcome and early sign of spring and their gorgeous blooms and intoxicating fragrance can make an appearance as early as mid-August. Daffodils are also an early indication that spring is approaching, but there are varieties that will flower throughout spring so make sure you check with your local garden shop so you get a good mix of varieties that will bloom for months.
Winter may be coming but that doesn’t mean you need to stay indoors for the next 3 months. Now’s the best time to get started on that winter garden project and if you want to give your garden a winter makeover but don’t quite have the funds to get the look you want, we’re here to help. Just take a look at our flexible mini-loans from $1K - $5K to find out how quick and easy it is to get your hands on some extra funds. Once a loan is approved, we can usually deposit the cash into your bank account within a few hours - so you can start planning that new winter garden today!