Preparing Your Garden for Winter

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Gardening does not stop in winter due to the fact that Johannesburg experiences fairly mild winters. In fact, your preparation ensures that your garden is established, cared for, and healthy and ready to burst when the temperatures eventually turn.

During this preparation season you should:

Tidy up your garden

  • Rake up unwanted leaves and make a compost heap, or mulch your garden beds to create a warm winter blanket.
  • Remove leaves that have fallen into the crowns of plants to prevent rotting of the crown, which my kill your plants. The likes of Clivia and Agapanthus could be affected.
  • Lightly prune out of shape plants. Do not cut back heavily as you may leave your plants exposed to the winter cold.

Plant winter annuals

These are some of my favourite flowers as their colours are soft and crisp again clear winter skies.

Sun loving

  • Pansies
  • Dianthus
  • Calendula
  • Poppies
  • Stocks
  • Bellis
  • Snap dragons
  • Gazania
  • Verbena
  • Sweet peas
  • Godetia

Semi-shade

  • Viola
  • Primrose
  • Lobelia
  • Primula malacoides (fairy primula)
  • Primula obconica

Plant winter vegetables

Nature knows best and winter vegetables are all about boosting the immune system to help fight winter illnesses. Plant these leafy greens:

  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Peas
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Leeks
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Lettuce

Get your frost covers ready

Prepare for cold spells that may damage certain plants. Gauteng generally experiences the first frost around the 3rd week of May. Start covering your frost tender plants now to help them through winter.

The following plants may need extra protection during winter:

  • Tree ferns
  • Fuchsia
  • Duranta varieties
  • Ficus varieties
  • Cape honey suckle
  • Bougainvillea
  • Brush cherry varieties
  • Cuphea
  • Hibiscus varieties
  • Mandeville varieties
  • Elephant Ear
  • Heliotrope

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