Advice for getting your garden ready for winter
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Despite the shorter days, there is still time to make your garden or allotment more water efficient and nature friendly, writes Anglian Water’s David Hartley.
From October until the end of November the days are shorter and chillier, and we might be spending a bit more time indoors than we would like to but did you know it’s a great time to get your garden ready for next spring?
Being water efficient in the garden is great for you because it means less watering and more time spent enjoying your garden, but it’s also good for the environment and the region’s water supplies, and if you are on a meter it will mean cheaper bills too.
A good way to keep the moisture in the soil and improve its quality over the winter is by adding organic fertiliser and topping off with mulch, such as bark or gravel. This helps to lock in moisture and nutrients, and improves drainage. It is also the perfect time to remove weeds that will compete with your vegetables and flowers for any available water.
Along with the usual tasks such as cutting back plants to encourage growth for spring, these autumn days are a great time to tackle cultivation tasks like making new beds and borders, deep digging to help root development or relocating plants. That way the soil is much less likely to dry out in the process.
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It is also the best time to install one or two well-placed water butts ahead of the wetter winter months. These will store rainwater over the winter which you can then use in spring and summer to help dramatically reduce the need to use tap water on your garden.
You can also make your garden wildlife friendly to help protect animals from winter frosts - one idea is to create a log pile in a shady corner of the garden to attract hedgehogs and frogs. Visit www.wildlifetrusts.org for more tips.
Also remember to feed birds - to maximise the number of birds you feed leave food in different locations in your garden, such as on the ground and in trees.
Loads of green-fingered advice and free water saving packs are also available from Anglian Water’s ‘Potting Shed’ - (see www.anglianwater.co.uk/thepottingshed) - a partnership between Anglian Water and the Royal Horticultural Society, which was launched during the drought of 2012. Customers can order their FREE water saving garden kit from the website and have it delivered to their home.
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