A pre-winter to-do list

To get a good start to next spring, there are a few things you can do now before winter sets in. It’s definitely worth getting on top of these things now so that you have fewer pests and diseases to contend with next spring, and for better soil.

Empty Beds

The aim: to avoid weeds taking over, keep spore-driven disease from harbouring in the soil, improve soil quality and get soil nice and warm as early on as possible in spring.

How it’s done:

  1. Pull up any major weeds and the last of any remaining veg plants. These can go in the compost bin.
  2. Add a layer of well rotted manure or compost on the top of any empty veg beds
  3. Cover the beds with a sheet of black polythene, weed control fabric, or cardboard making sure it’s well secured so as not to blow away on windy days!

Growing Beds

The aim: to make sure plants are protected and have the best growing conditions

How it’s done:

  1. Pull up or hoe any weeds between rows
  2. Remove the yellowing leaves from brassicas (these fall off and provide excellent slug food if left to rot in situ – put them in the compost instead)
  3. Use horticultural fleece to protect brassicas from pigeons. Make sure it is well secured.
  4. Lay down slug beer traps etc


The aim: to improve the growing conditions for plants and reduce pests and diseases

How it’s done:

  1. Remove any old foliage/weeds.
  2. Give windows/plastic a good clean using a garden disinfectant.
  3. Top up beds with fresh compost or well rotted manure.
  4. Clear gutters.
  5. Check for broken panes/ripped polythene – you may want to replace asap or wait until very early spring.
  6. Clean down any benches/tables/woodwork using garden disinfectant

Pots & Containers:

The aim: to prevent pests and diseases from overwintering

How it’s done:

  1. Empty pots of any compost and old plants – you can put this on the compost
  2. Scrub them out or use a pressure hose to give them a thorough clean
  3. Store them somewhere dry where they won’t get frosty

Around the garden:

The aim: to keep pests to a minimum, particularly slugs, rodents etc

How it’s done:

  1. Rake up fallen leaves – they can go in the compost
  2. Tidy up any debris – bits of wood, stones, old pots and containers, unused grow bags etc etc. These all provide excellent hiding places for slugs so it’s a good idea to get them out the way.
  3. Pull up any bad areas of weeds. Again, these are an ideal place for slugs to hide so it’s best to keep them to a minimum.