Winter Gardening Jobs That Spring Will Thank You For

Winter Gardening Jobs That Spring Will Thank You For

9 minute read

Gardening doesn’t begin in spring or end by autumn. It’s a year-round duty, and winter months are without an exemption. Even in the face of cold weather, there’s still much to get done in the garden. So don’t let the spell of autumn become a distant memory.

Keep your green thumb busy, like you usually do when giving your home a seasonal update. Let your backyard embrace the wintriness and be ready for springtime.

These winter gardening jobs will lay the foundation for a healthy and thriving plot. You’ll be glad you keep those green fingers flexed!

Transitioning From Winter Garden

(Image Credit: Flickr)

Your garden has played its part for the past three seasons. It has provided you with beautiful blooms, lush foliage, and delicious produce.

Now is payback time for all its hard work. Take the opportunity to prepare and plan ahead. A little effort to offer your backyard the TLC it needs will help yield a bountiful harvest for next year.

Winter Gardening Jobs

These winter gardening jobs will make all the difference. From quick and easy to larger weekend chores, are you ready to get bustling? 

Clear your yard

Winter harvest

(Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Your landscape may not be where you want it to be once the summer and autumn allures have departed. But this doesn’t mean you’ll keep it that way and leave as it is.

Clean up and dispose of any clutter. This includes the leaves from your patio or decking, the pond, and on the lawn.

Might as well clear the gutters. Deciduous trees would have dropped their leaves on the roof and into the gutters, your shed included.

If overlooked, they’ll block the water flow, which could cause damage to ceilings and walls.

Also, consider deflating and cleaning your inflatable outdoor hot tub or paddling pool. Store garden toys, equipment, and garden furniture (ideally, covered). 

And do your BBQ grill a favour by deep cleaning and keeping it dry and safe. An obstruction-free yard means a clear mind, which also helps you have a good first step.

Tend the patch and borders

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Your vegetable patch and borders deserve some TLC this winter, too! Get them sorted and prepped, so the overall state of your garden won’t end up looking like a dying jungle.

Pull up, and eat or mulch those old root veggies. Chop up old vines and vegetation for the compost bin, and give the soil a well-earned rest.

Remove any autumn debris that may have collected in the borders and cut back unruly growth. Deadhead spent flowers or keep them intact to inject colour and texture to the landscape.

Make sure to keep on top of the weeding to make life easier in spring.

Get to pruning

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Late winter is an excellent time to prune the trees and shrubs. This time of year, they’ve halted signs of growth and hunkered down.

Get to pruning on a mild, dry day. Not only is this more pleasant for you, but also helps prevent spread of water borne plant diseases.

As hinted, deadhead autumn-flowering plants and prune summer shrubs before the first frosts. A year's growth from your roses included, as well as any large, woody stems.

If you’ve got fuchsia on the plot, give it a snip for a show-stopping display come summer. Don’t forget evergreen shrubs (e.g. boxwoods) and trees (e.g. fir) when they’re still dormant.

First prune out dead and diseased branches, especially those caused by snow and ice. Remove overgrown and smaller branches to increase light and air at the crown of the tree. 

Top tip: To prune shorter trees, opt for long-reach poles so you can keep your feet safely on the ground.

Plant bulbs

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Take advantage of the warm soil left and get bulbs in the ground in November. This can guarantee plants for winter colour from January onwards.

Choose a mixture of varieties and plant in clumps for a gorgeous display. Plant them about three to six inches apart, depending on the bulb type, such as:

  • Crocuses
  • Irises
  • Hyacinth 
  • Narcissi
  • Snowdrops
  • Tulips
  • Winter pansies

For instance, tulips and daffodils should be about six inches apart as they spread and grow quickly. Three inches apart, in contrast, will do for crocuses and snowdrops.

Mix some compost in with the soil and apply mulch over the area. By doing this, the bulbs will stay warm in the ground until spring.

Also, make sure to fertilise your winter flowering bulbs (if there’s any) when the first buds appear. Expect them to burst forth once the warmth of time in spring penetrates the soil structure.

Note: Don’t plant bulbs while the ground is frozen.

Cover the plants

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Extend the life of your winter plants by covering them with cloches. They are used as portable greenhouses, taking the protection out to plants in the soil.

Cloches are either glass or plastic domes that fit over individual plants. Modern ones come with ventilation like a panel or window that opens.

They are a great cost-effective way to protect hardy plants and also come in handy in spring and summer. Alternatively, use bubble wrap or fleece.

For tender plants, bring them indoors or put them in a greenhouse.

Cultivate ‘cover crops’

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Keep the productivity going in your garden this winter by planting cover crops. This method can protect the soil and even add nutrients to your greens.

What’s more, suppress weeds and prevent soil erosion, especially if the weather is bad and you’re on a slope. Cover the soil with an insulating layer of low-growing vegetation, including:

  • Buckwheat

  • Peas

  • Oats

  • Rapeseed

  • Tillage Radish

  • Turnips 

Things will then get off to a quicker start in spring when you’re ready to plant the veggies.

Top up the bird feeders

(Image Credit: Hippopx)

Keep your feathered friends well-fed during the colder months. Fill up your feeders with food for birds.

Feeding those who frequently visit your garden is a good start. Most will appreciate nuts, seeds and fat balls, even kitchen scraps.

Place them in locations, such as tree branches, so birds over winter can access the food at ease. Once you're feeding your regular guests, serve other types of feed to attract more species.

Fresh water is also as important as food. If you live in an area where temperatures dip below freezing, consider heated bird baths.

Top tip: Freshen up water regularly to ensure it doesn’t freeze over. Place a small ball like a table tennis one to prevent it from completely freezing.

Consider wildlife garden

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From a wild animal’s point of view, winter is when they gear up for a fight for their survival. Help by providing your native wildlife food and shelter to hibernate.

Do them a favour and skip the raking, bagging, and trimming this fall. Or compile everything in a secured corner to keep the garden as tidy as possible.

A bug hotel for beneficial insects works wonders. Fallen leaves and a log pile are perfect hedgehog houses.

Firewood piles also make a good wildlife shelter. Pile the logs in a crisscross fashion to create internal spaces for small animals.

In return, you’ll have a steady stream of wildlife to watch in your humane backyard.

Lawn in winter TLC

(Image Credit: Public Domain Pictures)

Grass is generally dormant throughout winter, so take a break from mowing. If it still seems to be growing, you may give it a trim but don’t cut it too short.

For best results, treat your lawn to a one-off liquid feed rich in potassium. Water the feed as well so it gets to the roots where it’s most needed.

Rake up leaves and debris, and collect fallen fruits from fruit trees for a quick smarten-up. Put those leaves to good use for the hedgehogs or by adding them into your compost heap or leaf mould.

It’s also best to stay off lawns entirely where possible to avoid muddy patches and damage. If you must walk on it, pop a plank down temporarily so your weight is spread more evenly.

Create compost

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Composting doesn’t have to come to a full-stop during the cold months. Winter heaps need more brown material to stay active, so collect all the leaves you can.

Bulk up the inside of the pile and leave as much air space inside as possible. Insulate your pile with bags of leaves to keep in the heat generated at the centre.

After the ground freezes, tuck your finely chopped kitchen scraps under the cover. This makes for good green (scraps) and brown (straw) balance.

If what’s inside your tumbler freezes solid, don’t attempt to turn it. Wait for the thaw.

Plan ahead

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Set aside some time to reflect on the growing seasons you have had. Successes and failures. Plan what you’ll do differently in the coming year.

It could be through sketching the layout of your garden beds. Plan a new pergola or introduce a seating area. Or invest in a shed, finally.

Also take the time to think ahead and design your plot ready for spring. Consider what flowers you want to grow, and where and how you’re going to plant them.

Top tip: Draw up a garden calendar to detail what jobs you need to do every month or season. This will help keep your backyard in tip-top shape year-round.


It’s tempting to stay indoors with hot cocoa on your hands during a cold winter season. That’s for sure. But taking care of your garden despite the grey skies can make a huge difference.

First off, you’ll reap the benefits in spring and summer, and likely in autumn months, as well. When that’s all done, you can curl up with a garden magazine with a sense of achievement.

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