Make the most of your growing season through winter gardening
Winter, the time when temperatures are at their lowest and gardening usually takes a plunge. This doesn’t need to be the case as there are plenty of things to do need to be the case as there are plenty of things to do need to be the case as there are plenty of things to do need to be the case as there are plenty of things to do in the cooler months to make gardening a year round project. Here is our winter “To Do” list:
Know your climatic zone
As winter progresses gardeners should know if they are in climatic zone where frost occurs so that they can prepare accordingly. For example the southern side of the Highveld is regarded as the cold interior as such; heavy frost is expected in winter.
In the garden different kinds of mulches are not only used for decoration purpose or to prevent weeds from growing but will keep the soil warm and moist. A layer of mulch gives better protection for beneficial microbial activity underneath the soil which in turn improves plant health. Supplement your mulch by adding fallen leaves from deciduous trees.
Prolong your growing season
In the vegetable garden consider planting frost resistance crops such as cabbage, spinach, beetroot, broccoli and Chinese cabbage. For those crops that are sensitive to frost protect them with frost cover. Inter plant your crops with winter edible annuals to bring colour to your garden such as calendula and viola.
Ensure your garden stays weed free as this might attract some pests and become a breeding ground for diseases. Weeds can also outgrow your valuable plants if left unattended.
Watering in the winter
Avoid watering established gardens in winter unless there is a sign of wilting. Lawns should also not be watered and allowed to turn brown. When you have to water, stick to the watering time guidelines in your municipality and ensure it is deep soaking and less frequent. Save your municipal water by irrigating your garden using waste water (grey water) collected from hand basins, washing machines and baths. Implementing these Water Wise practices in your garden over winter will ensure all-year- round beauty of the garden.