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The winter cold always seems to drag on, especially when you are a dedicated gardener. However, while you might be looking forward to spring, there is no doubt that it is one of the busiest times of year for anyone with a green thumb. To save yourself time, and to help ensure a successful year for your garden, it is a good idea to start preparing your garden for spring early in the year.

If you need help in preparing your garden for the end of winter, speak to an experienced local gardener. As well as helping with garden maintenance tasks, they can also provide you with useful advice on what to plant and how to deal with the challenges ahead.

On the other hand, if you want to be able to better-utilise the space in your garden this year, your best bet will be to speak with a landscape designer. A garden design service can show you how to get as much use out of your available space as possible, such as rearranging your plots or removing wasteful features.

Here are the best ways to prepare your garden for spring!

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Start composting

Any experienced gardener will tell you how important it is to compost! In addition to providing you with a convenient way to get rid of garden waste, it can also be highly beneficial for your plants.

You can start by purchasing a compost bin, or having a local carpenter create a wooden bin for you. If you want to save money, give them wooden pallets to work with. 

Remember: to compost successfully, you must turn the pile at least once a month to keep it aerated. It is also worth mentioning that this is not the time of year to start fertilising your soil, as most of what you use will likely be washed away by winter rain.


Clear up beds, borders, paths and ponds

Look around your garden in winter and you will likely find a great deal of leaves and other dead plant matter. This can go right in your compost bin, giving you more future fertiliser while also clearing space for this year’s gardening.

One thing to focus on in particular is any weeds which have taken root in your garden plots. Be sure to remove these, pulling them up by the roots if you can. If you have a particularly bad infestation, it can help to cover the area with tarpaulin for a few weeks in order to weaken the offending plants.

At this point it will also be a good idea to rake your lawn of any moss or dead grass. While you are at it, add holes to the ground using your garden fork - this will improve aeration and drainage.


Clean your greenhouse

Now is the perfect time of year to disinfect the inside of your greenhouse. Clear your shelves of any dead plants and sweep the floors. You will also want to disinfect the inside of the glass and wash any seed trays or used pots.

This may sound unnecessary, but there are a number of pests and diseases which can comfortably survive the winter in a standard greenhouse. Be sure to scrub thoroughly and remove any pests you find - any which are leftover will be more than happy to feed on new seedlings come springtime.

Once you have finished cleaning your greenhouse, ventilate it for a few days by opening the windows.

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Attract helpful wildlife

The right birds, insects and mammals can be a great help to gardeners. Not only can they encourage healthy greenery, but they can also be highly effective in dealing with pests.

To attract mammals and birds (who will happily eat any slugs or snails they find), plant edible shrubs and install some small water ponds. You can also plant flowers like marigolds and violets to attract pollinating insects such as bees.


Tackle pests

Any experienced gardener will know just how much of a problem pests can be. Never assume that winter will kill them off - instead, take winter as an opportunity to go after them!

Even in winter, you can find snails and slugs hiding around perennial plants. If you have pots which have not been cleaned of their summer bedding, you could find vine weevil larvae hiding inside.

Remember, if you have a particularly big pest problem, you can always speak to a local pest controller about potential solutions. Try to avoid chemical methods if possible, as these may have a negative effect on your greenery.


Install rainwater collectors and water butts

As long as you are suffering from the winter rain, why not take advantage of it? Rainwater can be quite healthy for your plants and it even comes free of charge!

To collect as much rainwater as possible, position your collector below your downpipe. While you are at it, give your gutters a clean - allowing waste matter to build up in your guttering can lead to issues like damp, mould and pest infestations.

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Fix wooden structures

If you have a dry winter period, it will be a good idea to take it as an opportunity to make any necessary repairs to garden sheds, gates, fences and trellises. 

Start by addressing any structural flaws by hiring a local carpenter. Afterwards it will be a good idea to treat any wooden structures with a wood preservative. Not only will this extend the life of the structures, it will give them a fresh and attractive colour.


Repair, replace and clean tools and equipment

Do not save this job for spring! When the warm weather finally arrives, you will want to be ready with a crack-team of tools at your side.

Start by cleaning and disinfecting your most well used tools. You should also take the time to sharpen any which have gone blunt. Finally, ensure that your lawnmower is working - by the time spring arrives, you will need to start mowing your lawn weekly.


Plan for spring and summer

While these seasons might seem far away, now will still be the ideal time to start preparing everything you need.

Firstly, decide what you want to plant and order the necessary seeds and bulbs. For help with this, it will be a good idea to speak to a local gardener. They may even have local plant varieties which will be naturally suited to the conditions in your garden.

It can also be a good idea to look at your garden and ask whether you are getting the best possible use out of the space. If you feel that room is wasted, or if you want to install features like ponds or raised beds, get in contact with a local landscape designer. For example, you may have a poorly placed deciduous shrub which would be better elsewhere. Doing this work in the winter will be much better than waiting until the shrub has ideal growing conditions!