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Keeping Active - a winter warm up!

Updated: Jan 18, 2021

Just because it is winter and the days are cold and wet with the nights drawing in earlier than we would all want; this doesn’t mean that gardening jobs can be left until the warmer months arrive.

Some of you might remember Angela who is the Lead Horticulture Tutor at Abberton Rural Training and a carer for her daughter with additional needs who wrote a blog for us this summer about how she used her garden to get some time for herself whilst shielding and during the first period of lockdown. In this blog she makes some suggestions about how to keep active and motivated in the garden even in this cold weather.

For those of us who can access your own garden space or balcony, or even those of you who make full use of your windowsills as a growing space, work can begin now to prepare for the arrival of the forthcoming growing season. So, a few jobs to keep you busy over the winter:

· Paths and balconies should be swept and kept clear of leaves, moss and weeds, especially in cold wet weather as walkways can become very slippery and dangerous.

· Collect leaves especially if they are on your growing areas as small pests will use fallen leaves as a shelter in preparation for an attack once the weather has warmed up!

· Leaves can be collected and used as a leaf mould. The gathered leaves are placed in a bag or compost bin of their own and they will rot down over a period of time forming a mulch which can be used to spread over planting borders, containers or mixed in with compost to use for planting at a later date.

· Clear away any plant debris to avoid any disease that may spread. Any dead plant material which hasn’t succumbed to a disease can be put in the compost or out for green waste. Any diseased material should be ideally burnt in an incinerator if available.

· Plant pots or those containers used on a windowsill can be organised and cleaned where necessary to avoid the harbouring of any pests and disease and stacked and stored making growing, repotting plants and cuttings so much easier once the season gets going.

· Tools can be expensive so these need to be cared for as much as your plants. Discard those which are broken and or check for repairs that may need to be carried out - being careful when sharpening!

Money can be tight and budgets can be limited, so encouraging seed, plant and magazine sharing and swaps with neighbours and friends is a great way to grow and maybe make a few friends along the way!

And finally, during these cold spells there is nothing better than sitting down with a hot drink and a biscuit (or maybe a few!) and a magazine or an inspirational book on garden design to get you off the starting blocks with planning for the growing season ahead.

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