Gardening Jobs for the Weekend: Advice for Tackling Autumn Frosts and Preparing Your Spring Bedding

It is getting to that time of year again where the days go darker, and the weather turns cold. So, to round off the week and (hopefully) keep you occupied this weekend, we are giving you some advice on how to tackle the autumn frost and make sure your garden is ready for spring.

These tips are for those who may not know a lot about gardening and for those who are the experts but need some advice on what to plant next!

Autumn Frosts

Autumn frosts are usually light until November time. For now, make sure that you keep them off the last of your dwarf French beans, courgettes and leafy salads by covering them with fleece suspended on hoops or better, cloches. Make sure that you lift any delicate bedding plants and place into trays or pots under cloches, cold-frames, or greenhouses before the hard winter weather sets in.

Spring Bedding

Once bulbs are planted, be quick to plant spring bedding in containers and borders, bedding plants like daisies, forget-me-not, pansies, polyanthus, sweet Williams, viola, and wall flowers. Miniature cyclamen and ornamental kales and cabbages are effective until the New Year. Small evergreen shrubs can be used year after year; bay, euonymus, ivies, yellow or green Lonicera nitida or berried skimmia, for example. Evergreen ferns, including hart’s-tongue, common polypody and shield fern, suit shade where flowers will not flourish.

Planting Hippeastrum

Hippeastrum take six to eight weeks to flower from planting. For blooms from midwinter until spring, plant every two weeks. Simply pot the dry bulbs two thirds deep in peat-free multipurpose potting compost, place in a bright spot in a warm room, moisten lightly until leaves and roots develop, then keep moist but not soggy. Turn the pot occasionally to keep straight stems, staking as required. For long-lasting blooms, keep them cool when in flower.

Planting Perennials

Warm October soils before winter rains set in are ideal for planting perennials both as the newly bought plants, or after divided existing plants. Work backwards from a plank to avoid trampling soil, taking out a generous planting hole with your trowel. Water if dry after planting. Set plants 12-25mm deeper than in the pot or when dug up and allow 40-50cm between plants. Finally, pack soil around them.

Mending Lawns

Use turf to patch lawn damaged by heavy summer use. Turf takes well in October. Cut out neat rectangles of worn turf with an edging iron and lift out in slabs with a spade. Trim the turf to make a perfect fit. If you are using multiple turfs, stagger the joints just like a brick wall. Pack loose soil beneath and around them so that they lie level. They will have grown securely by the time mowing is required.

We hope these tips help you keep your garden looking spectacular throughout the winter months and through to spring!

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