29 October 2020 By Kitty Yarrow
Top Tips for Winter Gardening with Sarah Wain
Sarah Wain joined us for another live webinar this month to discuss how best to prepare your glasshouse and garden for winter, ensuring that you are ready for the height of the growing season when spring comes around.
We’ve collected some of Sarah’s top tips from overwintering in cold frames, protecting against bugs, to cleaning those pesky pots.
Just because the temperature drops and the glasshouse is having its annual clean does not mean that growing, particularly edibles, has to stop. Sarah suggests investigating into leafy greens such as Pak Choi, Spinach and Lambs Lettuce and sowing in September. This can be transported into cold frames to overwinter and you have fresh produce to harvest through the colder months.
You might not like it but your greenhouse will attract pests. Whether it’s Red Spider Mite or whitefly the key is to introduce predators. Sarah is an advocate of investigating what particular pests might be lurking by utilising sticky paper – place it on kebab sticks near the bushiest parts of your plants in order to catch those bugs. Once you have determined what they are you can then do some research on the best live predators to introduce; these will be beneficial in ensuring your plants aren’t damaged and your greenhouse remains disease free.
Your greenhouse needs cleaning – this should be done annually. Whilst Alitex provides a clean & care service for your greenhouse, it is possible to undertake the clean yourself with a powered jet wash and the best time is during winter when it isn’t brimming with flora and fauna. Ensure you empty out any remaining plants and cover up any electrical items such as lights before starting.
Not only does the structure itself need cleaning but so does the contents within. Pots, vines and wires all come in to contact with your plants. Make sure you remove and clean anywhere that could be considered a ‘pest hotel’ such as wooden support canes. During her time at West Dean, Sarah and her dedicated team utilised a rigorous cleaning scheme for plastic and terracotta pots and their growing accessories, including watering cans. Soak them in water and disinfectant before scrubbing them, ready for drying and storing.
These are just some of Sarah’s top techniques in preparing yourself for the colder months of growing, catch up with the webinar.