Miss Landscape

Veg gardeners!

Like myself, you will probably only feel like visiting your plot on the driest and warmest days in January, but I wouldn't recommend doing any digging if your soil is too wet - if it sticks to everything - then it's too wet!
Here are a few things I have been doing this month (and some things I still need to do)
  • Harvesting the hardy winter veg such as brassicas, leeks, celeriac and roots such at turnips, parsnips, and winter radishes.
  • Mulch empty plots with well-rotted manure.
  • Lay down sheets of polythene, carpet, or cardboard to warm-up areas of seedbeds ready for your early sowings.
  • Buy and start to chit seed potatoes
  • Winter prune established apple and pear trees.
  • Check fruit cages, netting, poly, cloches, and other protection and supports for damage after heavy winds and snowfall.
  • Create a planting and sowing plan for the year ahead.
  • Clean and organise pots and seed trays.
  • Clear out the shed!
  • Check for pests and diseases and clear debris that can make for good hiding places for pesky slugs and snails. 

The perks of mulching leaves

So like most of my fellow gardeners, I spent the majority of my Autumn months removing leaves from lawns. This is a thankless task that is only rewarding for around 30 minutes, or until the next gust of wind comes along.

Then I am asking myself, is this really necessary?

The answer is no.

Mulching leaves with the mower basically shreds the leaves into tiny bits that eventually filter down through the grass to rot down and feed the soil. Most mowers have a mulching action. This usually involves removing the collection box to allow the leaves to be discharged out the back (just don't wear your best trousers!). Acting as fertilizer and a natural weed deterrent, this would save us the headache in the spring of having to throw chemicals all over the lawn to make it green again!

In some gardens where there are lots of trees in a small area, you may find the number of leaves a little overwhelming and a bit much to mulch. In this case, I would recommend scooping some of them up or using the collection box on the mower, then dump them on your beds, but there would be no harm in going over with the mulcher to get the ones that are more scattered.

For those who insist on having a spotless lawn year-round and are worried about what the neighbors will think of all the brown confetti, don't worry. As soon as the worms smell the delicious juicy goodness on those leaves, they will drag all those bits down into the soil.

Remember that leaves that are not removed from your lawn block the sunlight and air from reaching the grass, resulting in the grass being smothered and even the spread of fungus and some diseases affecting the quality of your lawn in the following years.

Whatever you do, don't waste the leaves!! they can always be used somewhere in the garden!

Happy mulching!!

Your lawn in winter

The severity of our winters here in the UK can vary from mild and dry, bogged down with constant mud, or 'Beast of the East!

As a general rule, the less you do to your lawn in winter, the better. Treat it as though you are giving your lawn a well-earned rest for the year.

This said, there are still a few jobs you can do on the elusive dry, mild day:

Regularly clear leaves and debris from the lawn to let as much light in there as possible.

Try not to walk on the grass when it is frosty or waterlogged as this can damage the sword and cause compaction.

Only mow the lawn if you need to, set the blades high enough just to neaten it up and not if it is wet or frozen.

Keep an eye out for damaged areas caused either by pests, disease, drainage, etc, and make note of them to be repaired in the spring.

Draw up a calendar for your lawn. OK, some people may think this is a bit overkill... but if you are wanting a flawless lawn - it makes sense to have a plan, and winter is a good time to do this.