Garden Gnome: Winter

Here to give share sage gardening wisdom, our very own organic gnome.

Well, it’s winter again; wild, wet and windy (so I don’t feel much like gardening!) However, we can ASSESS this last year’s performance: what did best and worst? Can we work out why that might have been (chat to your chums to see how their crops fared, or share with my mates at BHOGG) What could we do differently for a better outcome?

BEGIN to PLAN for next year

CLEAR beds, spread COMPOST or last year’s rotted leaves on bare soil (no the winter rains won’t wash the goodness out and it will protect and nourish the soil); CUT back anything overgrown; PRUNE fruit trees (not plums or cherries and their relations) and bushes, and any shrubs that don’t flower until after mid-summer (you have all winter to complete these tasks so no rush); PLANT new trees, bushes and hedges.

Put out food and water for birds; leave an area of untidiness for overwintering creatures; (check bonfire heaps for hibernating hedgehogs); gather autumn leaves while damp, stack or put in a bin- bag for a year

Resolutions for next year – these are mine, you may have others

  • Put all plants that need regular picking in an easy to reach place!
    e.g. calabrese, courgettes, beans and peas, salads, flowers for cutting
  • Do successional sowings of quick stuff like lettuce, French beans, radish
  • Don’t get swamped by sowing too much stuff all at once that needs potting on and planting out
  • Get the beds ready in plenty of time and know where everything will go
  • Make even more compost, sow more green manure, don’t leave soil bare over winter; keep off wet or frosty soil.
  • Keep on top of the weeds by regular hoeing
  • Start more things in modules to outwit molluscs

And above all: DON’T PANIC!

Tell Us About Your Year – Did your garden/ allotment lift your spirits in 2021? We would love to hear from our readers how gardening helped you cope with the pandemic.  Did you create grow or create anything special? Did your new project/experiment work? What grew well this year and what didn’t? Email your stories to

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