Advent Thought For The Day: 3

December 3rd: Winter Cleaning

December isn’t the most exciting or encouraging month in the gardening year, but it’s the right time to clear the decks ready for the new year. Indoors we refer to spring cleaning, but in the garden the best time to focus on hygiene and tidiness is late autumn or early winter.

Since we’ve become much more mindful of attracting wildlife into our gardens the tightrope we tread between doing good and perpetuating bad has become much narrower. On one hand piles of dead and decaying leaves are good for birds, worms and the many beneficial insects that inhabit our gardens, on the other hand they shelter gardeners’ foes such as slugs and snails. In general one should remove blankets of fallen leaves from the crowns of any plants that stay green over winter, especially those from Mediterranean climes. It’s wise to keep paths, cold-frames and greenhouse glass free from slippery, light-reducing foliage.

Greenhouses require a good scrub before winter comes to reduce the chance of pest infestations and to minimise outbreaks of grey mould. I choose a mild day so that my plants are not shocked by having to stand outside for a few hours while I do this. Good ventilation on warmer days will help, as will diligent removal of fallen leaves. I try to minimise watering and avoid splashing foliage at all costs. Winter is also the best time to clean garden tools since these can also be responsible for spreading disease. I am woefully bad at doing this, so, do as I say, not as I do!

Before I bring any plants indoors I go over each one with a fine-tooth comb to make sure I am not inadvertently giving some little blighter a 5 star, all-inclusive winter break. I found a slug in my bath sponge this morning, which even for me is a step too close to nature. TFG.

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9 thoughts on “Advent Thought For The Day: 3

  1. A slug in the bath sponge. I would say that is nasty, except that my shower at home was inside a burned out stump of a redwood tree, and our native banana slugs are famously large. They were often in the shower between autumn and spring.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A slug in a sponge must be a world first! It made me smile.
    Seasons greetings and thanks for all your posts – so informative and interesting.
    Sally Towers

    Liked by 1 person

  3. To rake or not to rake? This is the question. I vacillate when it comes to this. Last year I raked, shredded, composted and mulched. This year the paths are cleared but all that fell into the flower beds are still flat out. There they will stay.
    I am so glad you mentioned a slug in the shower. My Dearly Beloved started shouting my name the other day and rose to almost a panic so I rushed into the bathroom to see what was the matter. An earth worm was making its way across the shower floor. Ha… I know one hitchhiker made it inside this year. Ugh…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am always having to go to the websites of my fellow garden bloggers to see where they reside. Your slug in the bath sponge made me laugh – and I just had to be reminded of your location. I once gardened in Seattle, Washington – and slugs were my enemy. Now gardening in Oklahoma, my foes seem to be much more scary!

    Liked by 1 person

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