Gardening: ‘Most important’ area of the garden to prepare for winter – ‘best advice’

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A greenhouse lets gardeners control their own microclimate, controlling temperature and humidity exposed to plants. Whether a greenhouse is used to grow vegetables, plants or seedlings, it is essential to maintain and clean thoroughly before winter.

One expert, who has been garden landscaping for more than 17 years, has shared his advice on maintaining a greenhouse before winter sets in.

Tom Trouton said: “One of the most important areas of the garden to prepare for winter is your greenhouse, cold frame, or just a sheltered area you may have in mind for overwintering any tender plants.

“The best advice I can give is to empty your greenhouse once your tomatoes, cucumbers, or any other lovely plant have finished being productive and thoroughly wash the entire greenhouse to remove any potential bugs that may overwinter on your tender plants.

“You can use almost any horticultural cleaning agent, just read the label to check it is not harmful to plants or you could choose to fumigate the greenhouse which is a very effective way of ensuring the job is done properly. Again, always read the instructions.

“To help with low temperatures through the winter, it is worthwhile thinking of providing heat in the form of an electric heater if you have electricity in your greenhouse.

“Most plants only need to be frost-free so set at four degrees and you will be fine. 

“Some plants do require more heat but on the whole, these are tropical plants that can require much higher temperatures to just survive and can be prohibitively expensive.”

The expert explained that insulating the greenhouse before winter can help to reduce energy bills.

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He recommended using horticultural bubble wrap.

Tom explained that this is “very effective”.

He added: “I have used it for many years, and it is incredible what an effect it makes. 

“Perhaps the biggest difference I have found is installing a small water feature that creates humidity, this really does save money on heating bills but please ensure you had adequate airflow as you can run into mildew and mould problems.

“Your greenhouse is now all set up and with your tender plants now happily ensconced in their winter quarters you can turn your attention to the plants that are still tougher but still require attention such as tree ferns, or maybe a banana tree you treasure.

“You are now all set to enjoy your garden safe in the knowledge that your tender plants are protected to the best you can. 

“With the first frosts, now is the time to admire plants such as ornamental grasses covered in frost. It really is a magical time in the garden, the berries and leaves are turning.

“Perhaps you have an outdoor water feature that partly freezes creating wonderful shapes to gaze at for the short period they are frozen.”

Although gardeners may be spending less time in their garden throughout the winter months, Tom said to really embrace the season as the garden slowly transforms into a different landscape.

He added: “For those such as myself who have an infinity with stone, it is with thinking of creating a small, south-facing wall or just a little circular planter open to the south.

“Stone absorbs the sun’s heat and then it radiates the heat creating a microclimate for plants.

“Another discussion for another day but you will be surprised at what you can grow with just a little stone and good drainage.”

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