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How to completely transform your vegetable patch ahead of the winter season

by Norwoods Gardener | Oct 24, 2019

Your vegetable patch doesn’t have a lifespan that ends after the harvest season. Winter can prove to be the ideal time to get ahead and grow up your vegetable garden. Don’t miss out on making the most of your patch this winter with these four tips:

Tidy up your patch


As the colder weather sets in, it’s time to start tidying up your vegetable patch. Begin by gathering any fallen leaves. Not only will this make your garden look more presentable, but it will save you time and prevent them from causing a nuisance with clogged ponds and slippery paths. Remember not to waste them; leaves are gardeners’ gold and work great for mulching, compost, and creating leaf mould. You should also remove any dead vegetation to prevent the risk of any disease or unwanted pests spreading to your fresh winter veg. Any healthy remains can also be added to your compost pile. You can also help any other vegetables you’re planting by adding a layer of compost or mulch (about an inch) to suppress any weeds and protect your soil.

Choose the right crops


As temperatures start to fall and days become shorter, substitute summer plants with those that will survive the winter. Typically, root crops or leafy crops do best in cooler weather and the added frost can help to improve flavour – making vegetables like Brussel sprouts, leeks and parsnips sweeter. With plenty of options to spruce up your patch, you won’t be left with a barren vegetable garden throughout winter.

One precaution you should take is ensuring you plan your set up carefully. With shorter daylight hours, your plants will have less time to soak up and flourish in the sunshine. Consider planting taller crops to the north and shorter crops to the south to prevent them from being shaded and allowing them to enjoy the sun, improving their yield.

Expand your garden

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If you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to expand your vegetable garden. Consider adding raised bed, which can be built easily using recycled materials. You can increase benefits to your raised beds by creating higher walls on the northern side and lower walls on the south. The southern exposure will warm the soil and the higher northern walling will keep the cold air away.

You can also maximise your space by squeezing a faster-growing crop into areas around slower growing ones. For instance, a tomato plant will ultimately need a square meter of land and may sprout to become 1.5-2 meters tall — but not overnight. Speedy growing little lettuce, Asian greens and radishes can be planted, grown and harvested before the tomato even realizes what's going on.


Make your life easier


Whilst winter is the most beautiful time of the year, but it also means navigating darker mornings, frozen ground and slippery paths - but there’s no need to let these problems continue in your garden. Adding a layer of gravel, bark clippings, or even straw to all-weather paths alongside setting raised planks in place to keep your feet out of the mud when the wet weather arrives can make a huge difference.

You can also prevent those unwanted wake ups by investing in a weather responsive SMART irrigation system, such as Irrigatia, which can detect the weather and alter watering according to the conditions and the season - giving you those extra hours of snooze you need!