Winter Gardening Tips

When it comes to gardening in the Winter months, it is a misconception that there are no jobs to be done around the garden.

While you don’t need to water the plants or prune those bushes because most plants are dormant, that doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do.

Winter can be the best time to prepare your garden for the Spring and Summer.

Winter garden with frost on trees and bushes
Your plants will be dormant in the Winter. Credit: Pinterest

What Gardening Can I Do In Winter?

Winter can be quite a gloomy time for many of us who spend most of our time indoors. The nights are longer, and the days are shorter, leaving very little time for us to be in the garden.

But that doesn’t mean there are no things to do in the garden. Here are a few jobs and tips to ensure your garden is ready to bloom in early Spring.

Protect Plants From The Cold

You can add cloches to your Winter vegetables and leafy greens to protect against pests. Wrap your hardy vegetables like sprouts in a fleece.

Ideally, adding these protective layers should be done before the first frost of the season, but if you do it too early, you will also help weeds grow amongst your veggies.

Take the cloche off now and again to give the protected area a cleanup.

garden cloche protecting crops in the winter
Add a Cloche to protect your salads. Credit: Garden Products

Stay Off The Grass

Having a beautiful lawn in the summer is the centerpiece for any garden. While grass is evergreen and can handle most things, it becomes more susceptible to damage in the winter because of the icy conditions.

If you walk on your grass during the Winter while the soil is soggy and wet, you are decreasing the chances of recovery in the Spring and Summer.

beautiful summer garden with blooming flowers and green lawn
Keep off the grass to ensure it is preserved for Summer. Credit: Pinterest

Try to keep off the grass as much as possible to ensure a plush Summer lawn, but you can even lay out a network of planks on top of the grass to minimize the damage if you have to get around the garden.

Getting Digging Now

The cold weather of Winter gardening tends to inhibit you from planting new seeds outdoors. But there are ways you can make the most of the freezing temperatures.

Digging garden beds in the Winter, particularly if you have clay soil, will allow the frost to break up the ground helping to improve its structure for future planting. Not only this but breaking up the dense clay soil allows for better drainage.

Loosen up the soil ready for Spring. photo of a person digging
Photo by Riccardo Falconi on

Winter Gardening: Prune Trees and Shrubs

Winter is one of the best times to be pruning back and deadheading your shrubs and roses. Not only does it allow you to tidy up the areas from unmanageable growth, but Winter pruned plants are less prone to disease and other sorts of problems.

Removing dead branches while the shrubs are dormant lessens the impact on the host plant and eliminates any chance of the plant wasting energy by going to seed.

Look After The Wildlife

Every experienced gardener will know the importance of having wildlife in their garden. They provide a necessary ecosystem that will allow your garden to flourish and bring beauty and liveliness to the garden in its own right.

With this in mind, making your garden as wildlife-friendly as possible is essential. A straightforward way is to install a bird table and add feeders in different garden areas.

As Winter progresses, birds will become increasingly dependent on the handouts you provide, so remember to keep a constant supply of nuts and seeds.

Add some fresh water to the table and ensure it doesn’t freeze.

black and white bird on tree branch
Food becomes scarce for birds in the Winter. Photo by Erik Karits on

During the dull times of Winter, your wild garden inhabitants will have made some cover to hibernate. Try not to disturb them in these dark places; if anything, you can provide extra cover by piling some leaves in small areas around your plants. Hedgehogs will love this.


Don’t waste all those leaves from Autumn, as they are perfect for creating a leaf mold. Leaf molds are super for water retention in your soils and provide lots of nutrients. They also add earthworms and good bacteria to your soil, making it perfect for future plant growth.

Gather all the leaves in your yard in bin bags and place them in an area where they won’t get blown away. Make some air holes in the side of the bag and add a little soil to get things started. Over time as the leafy mixture breaks down and rots, it will require a shakeup of turning over to speed up the decomposition.

The decomposition process takes place over 6-12 months, so you should be able to use it next year to add to your garden.

Tidy and Sharpen Your Tools

While you can do this at any time of the year, take advantage of the downtime that Winter gardening provides.

Whether cleaning those brushes and rakes or fixing those loose handles on your spades, Winter is the perfect time to do those jobs we always put off during the warmer seasons.

Make sure those secateurs are sharp as they will be coming into a lot of use during later seasons as you prune and deadhead those flowers and branches that didn’t make it in through the cold Winter months.

gardening tools
Get your house in order and ready for the Spring. Photo by hans middendorp on

Secure Your Boundaries

Like cleaning your tools, securing and tidying your borders is another potentially mundane but essential job to complete during the dull Winter months.

Whether you are securing any loose wooden structures or fixing any broken fencing, the importance of this task should not be underestimated.

By ensuring your borders are well protected, your plants and vegetables will have a much better defense against bad weather and garden pests that will start to emerge in early Spring.

Final Thoughts On Winter Gardening

With little light available and cold, harsh weather, for most gardeners, Winter is a time of tidying up and preparing for the warmer seasons.

cold winter garden with frost and pink in sky

However, try not to think there is anything productive you can do during this time. As our tips above have shown, there are plenty of jobs in the downtime. If you follow the tips mentioned above, your garden will be much more prosperous in those Summer months.

What do you think of this Winter gardening article? In the comments section below, let us know if you have any other Winter gardening tips that may interest our readers.

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