The plants you’ve grown this year have stood the test of time, but by now the colder weather has arrived, they are looking a little sorry for themselves. However, their value is far from over - even in these dying stages, there are a few things you can do to make sure you get an even better crop and garden next year.
Before you do anything else, you need to collect any of the seeds that have developed and save them for next year. The seeds that your plants drop are better adapted to the micro-climate of your garden, which makes them extremely easy to grow in future. Many gardeners have great success using their own seeds, with many reporting high germination rates and at quick speeds. The plants tend to be much hardier than shop bought seeds.
Move Vulnerable Plants
Less hardy plants may struggle over the winter and should be moved into a sheltered area to protect from frost or snow. Some plants such as chilli plants may need to go into the house, but in many cases, an Unheated Greenhouse is sufficient.
Create a Compost Heap
All those plants that you are forgetting about have their uses; the solution lies in compost. Nearly all of the plants that you worked hard to grow last year can provide crucial sustenance and nutrients to your crops next year, so don’t forget to add leaves or organic matter in your composting pile.
Ensure you have removed all the seeds beforehand and don’t add any plants that have shown trace of disease. Avoid putting larger stemmed plants in piles as it can lead to inconsistent decomposition, meaning that you have rotting vines still intact by the time it comes to using the compost.
Only include uncooked vegetable-based waste such as peelings or cores as meat-based waste such as fish skins or bones can attract vermin. Consider not including tomato seeds in your waste as the seeds will germinate randomly throughout your garden when you come to use the compost.
Know the Ideal Planting Times
Each plant will grow under different conditions, at different times, and in different temperatures. To get the healthiest growth from your seedlings you’ll need to plant and care for each of your crops individually. Planting seedlings too early or too late can have detrimental effects on their ability to grow.
Prepare the Planting Environment in Advance
This really can’t be achieved until you’re ready to plant your seeds – good soil preparation is the most important thing you can do to assist your plants with growing and it’s surprisingly simple.
Firstly, loosen up the top layer of soil by at least 15 cm and add the compost you have been cultivating over the year to ensure it is well mixed in. Rake the soil level and you’re all done!
Some Common Mistakes to Avoid
Whilst we have given you the advice you need, we haven’t yet touched over the points that will hinder you from growing the best plants:
- Never underestimate the weather – Every climate and location is different and every garden has its own micro-climate. Choosing crops that are suited to your location and garden’s conditions is crucial for a successful outcome.
- Overcrowding your plant beds – Plants are essentially solar powered, with each leaf being a new solar panel. For this reason, when you crowd too many plants close together, you are reducing their sunlight and prohibiting them from growing at their most efficient levels.
- Track how much watering you’re doing – just as under-watering is detrimental to plants, many of us are guilty of over-watering. Over-watering leads to less hardy plants that are more likely to wilt, so only water as much as you need to.
- Planting the light lovers in the shade – plants make their food by being exposed to water, light and air. It’s a common misconception by many; they plant a seed in a shaded area and it grows out hugely! Lots of leaves grow, but they’ve only grown because the plant is desperately trying to absorb more light and yields are always low when this happens.
- Using weed killers on a windy or rainy day – you’ve got a lawn full of weeds, so you’ve taken it upon yourself to spray your lawn with weed killer. Great, right? Well, if you’ve sprayed in the wind, or when it’s wet/rained after, then this weed killer can get transported to your plants, which will kill them all.
- Don’t plant your seeds too deep – most seeds only need to be planted just below the surface
We hope we've helped you through gaining the most from your garden. Making mistakes in the garden is common, but with a few tips and tricks you will find your way towards having a successful garden year after year, season through season.
We offer a range of Timber Sheds to increase the functionality of your garden. These are all built to order at our Norfolk show site and can be customised to your exact requirements. Alternatively, if you prefer, you can contact us and talk to one our sales team directly.