Now that summer has passed, it is time to turn our attention to 4 Autumn Gardening Tasks To Do Now…The emphasis has now turned from growth to sleep for your garden.
October, being mid autumn, is the right time to prepare your garden for winter. Even with some days remaining that are fairly warm and sunny, the chilly nights remind us that, along with the shorter daylight hours, that winter is just around the corner.
It is easy to ‘take it easy’, feeling that the weather is stable. However, the next cold snap could be a day or so away, and frosts could rear their unpleasant heads at any time. It is vital, if you are going to protect the more fragile of your plants, that you keep a close watch on the weather forecast, and that you prepare, or store the more delicate of your plants. But how, practically, can you protect your plants from winters bitter bite?
Let’s look at four things that you should be doing now…
Protecting Your Plants From Winters’ Bite…
Time To Lift And Store
Unfortunately, some things don’t do well with frost. Take for instance, tender corms, rhizomes, tubers etc. Leave them exposed, and you could lose them.
So, protect them by digging them up, and storing in a frost free location that is both dry, and dark. When preparing to move them, remove the leafy growth, remove the soil on the roots, and store them in a box with compost that is completely dry.
This will keep them safe during the coming cold moths, ready to plaint again in Spring!
Protect With Mulch
What, though, if you can’t remove your treasured plants from the ground? Take, for instance, cannas and dahlias. How can you protect those?
The answer is mulch. Aim to use the mulch to protect the roots from damage. The mulch causes a layer of air and insulation that puts a buffer between the roots and the frost. How deep should you apply the mulch?
Whilst some situations will vary, try to aim for at least 2 inches of mulch. This should be sufficient, in most cases, to protect the roots, and the plant itself.
Tender Crowns Protection Tips
We have looked at the bottom of the plants, now let’s look at how to protect the tops..especially the tender crowns.
If you fail to protect this area, you will expose the centre, which provides the main growth, and could stunt, or even kill the plant. So what should you do?
One way to insulate those tender crowns is by packing dry straw around those growth centres. Straw is an excellent insulator, and using straw will safeguard those tender areas from both wind, and cold.
What is a Cloche you ask?
a cloche (from French, cloche for “bell”) is a covering for protecting plants from cold temperatures.
So, how you use a cloche? Try to cover vegetables with fleece, glass or plastic. This will minimise damage from frost. However, there is one caution.