We’ve all been taking advantage of the warmer weather in October but the fantastic display of autumn colour around us is a clear indicator that it’s time to start tidying up the garden in preparation for winter. We may well be seeing some lovely autumn sunshine but the weather is definitely beginning to change. There’s mist and fog as well as a hint of early morning frost in some places. Plants, furniture and garden tools, all need some sort of care or storage if they’re to make it through to next spring in good condition.
If the longer range weather forecasts are to be believed we may well be in for a cold winter, with temperatures forecast to drop below the average for this time of year quite soon. It’s time to get organised and get everything cut back, cleaned up and stored away.
Now is the time to cut back perennials, prune back climbing plants and get that final mow of the lawn in before it gets too wet and frosty. It’s also an ideal time for moving and dividing plants. Rake the leaves up and if you have a pond make sure you keep that clear of leaves too. You may want to cast some netting over your pond to catch the falling leaves and make it easier to collect them.
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has a great website with a calendar of monthly things to do when it comes to plants. If you’re not sure if it’s the right time to be doing something with the plants in your garden, their website is a great source of help.
If you’ve got space in the shed or garage, now is the time to clean and store your furniture until next year. Always clean your garden furniture and cushions before storing them and make sure everything is completely dry before it’s put away for good. The way you clean and repair your furniture will depend on whether it’s wooden, plastic or metal. Our tips for preparing your furniture for storage can be found here. If you have to store your furniture outside, use covers to keep the worst of the winter elements off and try and store them so they are not standing on grass to avoid wooden legs and feet rotting. If using covers, make sure you buy the right size – the winter wind can get underneath if covers are too large and before you know it, they’ll be gone!
Garden Tools & Equipment
If you want to avoid rust or things seizing up, then your garden tools and equipment also need to be cleaned up before they are put away for winter. When it comes to hand tools, clean off any dirt or mud and give them a wash with warm soapy water, making sure you dry them completely and oil them if necessary before you put them away. If your tools have wooden handles, don’t forget to treat those too. Lawnmowers, strimmers etc. need a little more care to get the grass cuttings and dirt from the undersides and crevices. You may also need to degrease the workings.
If you don’t have space to store you garden furniture or equipment but don’t want to leave it outside you might consider using a self storage unit. For a small cost you can be sure your goods will be stored in a clean, dry unit. If you’ve cleaned and maintained them before storing, you can be sure they’ll come out in good condition and ready to use next spring.