Putting Your Garden to Bed

Close-up of gardening gloves and flowers

Gardening Tips for Winter Preparation

Preparing your garden for winter is an opportunity to build healthy soils for next season and ensure local wildlife, like birds and pollinators, have much-needed winter food and shelter. Follow these top tips and you’ll also save yourself time and energy.

Leave the leaves

Fallen leaves make great mulch and provide beneficial insects and other small creatures a place to overwinter. Let leaves lie where they fall, or shred tougher leaves, like oak, with your lawn mower before scattering over garden beds and lawn.

Leave plants standing

Plant stems and grasses offer shelter for overwintering beneficial insects and seedheads provide food for birds. They also add visual interest and texture to your fall and winter garden. If you want to tidy up a little, leave stalks a minimum of 30 centimetres tall and use cuttings as mulch in your garden.

Leave the soil alone

Although tilling and turning the soil has been a longstanding conventional garden practice, this practice disturbs soil structure and organisms that keep soils healthy. Tilling and turning can compact soils, which prevents water from absorbing and prevents root growth. A five-centimetre layer of compost, topped with mulch and an application of leaves is sufficient.

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