Gardening is 90 percent soil and 10 percent plants – the work that goes unseen in the soil reflects in the health of the garden. Visitors to your garden will rarely (if ever) comment on your soil but will admire your roses and savour the flavour of home grown produce for months.
Winter is the perfect time to take stock of your garden before spring planting occurs and the heat of summer hits.
It has been proven that a strong healthy plant can fend off pests and diseases and bounce back after external stress, such as drought.
When taking stock of your winter garden, look at existing garden beds and vegie patch maintenance as well as areas for winter and spring planting.
Follow our simple steps for winter soil renewal.
Existing garden beds maintenance.
Healthy garden soil is the key to looking after plants in existing garden beds. These are the areas of the garden where you are happy with your plant selection or may want to add one or two plants to fill a spot.
Look at plant health:
- Is there diseased or damaged foliage or plants that have died? Prune off foliage and remove plants. If you have deciduous trees and shrubs, now is the time to give them a good prune for shape and spring and summer flowering and fruiting.
- Are plants not doing well in their current location? Winter is the perfect time to move plants that need more shade, sun or space to grow. Prepare your plants for transplanting with Seasol.
Existing garden beds maintenance continues:
Look at soil health:
- Plant health is a good sign of soil health. If plant foliage is yellow or brown, this could mean too much water, (the soil is not draining and plants are drowning), or plants don’t have enough water (the soil lacks moisture). Check moisture levels by digging down into the soil. If the soil is dry, it could be repelling water. Apply a soil wetter such as Seasol Super Soil Wetter & Conditioner to improve moisture retention. If the soil is too wet, look at ways of improving drainage such as raised garden beds.
- Improve soil and plant health by applying well-rotted compost or manure and a soil treatment such as Seasol Plant + Soil Booster. It’s a rich source of natural ingredients including compost and seaweed to boost soil health and growth in all plants including natives. It will slowly break down over winter to enrich the soil and increase worm and microbial activity to ensure plants are ready for spring growth.
- Apply or top up mulch on garden bed areas to conserve moisture and keep soil temperatures consistent – cool in summer and warm in winter.
New garden bed maintenance.
Soil preparation and healthy soil is the key to establishing new plants in a garden bed for spring growth and spring/summer flowering and fruiting.
- Mark out the area that will make up the new garden bed and have a look at the soil within it. Dig over the soil with a spade to a depth of 30cm. Remove old and untidy plants, weeds and debris such as rocks and stones.
- Check the soil structure, is it sand or clay? If you are unsure take a sample to a garden centre who can give you advice on local soil. If it’s heavy clay, adding gypsum may improve soil health. For any soil adding well-rotted manure, organic matter or a fast-acting soil improver such as Seasol Liquid Compost will help to improve soil health. It’s a lot easier to get compost under the roots of plants before planting than after.
New garden bed maintenance continues:
- To keep the soil improving slowly over time, apply a natural pelletised soil treatment such as Seasol Plant + Soil Booster. It’s boosted with natural compost, humic acids and organic matter to improve soil structure, moisture retention and nutrient uptake. It also helps increase worm and microbial activity.
- After applying nutrients, allow the soil t0 rest for a couple of weeks to let the good things you have added begin to work on your soil. Apply mulch to keep the soil temperature warm and to retain moisture within the soil. If your new garden bed is being prepared for planting in spring, consider applying a green cover crop to protect and feed the soil ready for planting. Dig the green crop into the soil before planting.
Winter vegie patch maintenance:
In the vegie patch at this time of the year, you will find vegies such as broccoli, cauliflowers, spinach and lettuce are flourishing. These vegies are gross feeders, which means that they take a lot of goodness out of the soil. Taking stock of your winter vegies patch and keeping the soil well feed ensures healthy strong, healthy growth and a bumper crop of tasty produce.
- Harvest produce and remove dead and diseased foliage and plants. Check plants for insects, slugs and snails that are damaging or eating your plants and crops. Spray with the appropriate organic treatment or try planting companion plants.
Winter vegie patch maintenance cont:
- Check soil moisture and ensure water is soaking down to where it’s needed: the plant’s roots. If water is running off or pooling on top, then consider applying a soil wetter such as Seasol Super Soil Wetter & Conditioner to improve moisture penetration.
- Replenish and improve soil for existing and new crops by applying Seasol Plant + Soil Booster. It breaks down slowly over time to improve soil and plant health. Boosted with seaweed, it stimulates root development, promotes healthy growth and reduces stress from frost, pests and disease.
- Add organic mulch such as sugar cane or pea straw to protect and improve soil and edible produce.
Seasol Plant + Soil Booster.
Seasol Plant + Soil Booster should generally be applied every six to eight weeks all year round. Mix into the top soil and water in thoroughly after each application.
It is ideal for:
- Winter: Helps protect plants against frost. Improves the soil for winter and spring planting.
- Spring: Boosts plants at planting time and throughout the growing season. Promotes flowering and fruiting for a bumper crop.
- Summer: Helps protect plants against heat and drought. Revitalises tired soil.
- Autumn: Helps protect against frost. Improves the soil for winter and spring planting.