It isn’t just indoors that you can get some DIY done, the garden needs plenty of care too over the winter months – and there is a lot to be said for gardening when it’s not quite so hot outside.
It’s the best time to get cool season crops such as broccoli, spinach, lettuce, and carrots to grow properly. Plus, there’s less work involved.
For the gardener, there’s less weeding, watering and care involved and more comfortable weather to work in. Weeds will germinate, but they will not grow strongly during the short days and are easy to remove.
Moisture holds in the soil longer in Fall so the garden requires less watering.
Preparing your garden
Start your winter garden by turning the soil, removing perennial weeds and grasses, and amending it with compost.
Consider growing plants in raised beds. This will keep the soil drained and help avoid water logging if we have a wet winter.
Amend the soil before planting and add an organic fertilizer at, or just after, planting time. That’s usually enough to carry your plants through the winter.
What to plant
Winter in Bermuda lets us grow cool season crops. Greens such as arugula, spinach, collards, lettuce, Swiss chard, mustard and kale thrive.
Root crops such as carrots, beets, onions and radishes grow well. Broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage form large heads. Legumes, such as fava beans and peas, grow and flourish.
All these cool loving vegetables have better flavour and texture than if you tried to grow them during the heat of spring or summer.
With the average rainfall in Bermuda during the winter months being about one inch a week, watering is less of an issue for your garden than in the summer months, but it’s still a good idea to mulch your plantings to preserve the soil moisture and keep the weeds away.
While most pests are not active in winter, cabbage worms and slugs are two that never seem to rest.
Watch for cabbage worm droppings on your broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage plants, and control them at the first sign of activity.
Slugs and snails are a particular problem in Bermuda. Protect raised beds with copper flashing.
Slugs and snails don’t like touching copper. They also do not like the feel of coffee grounds. Spread them around to deter pests.
For a full list of what to plant over the winter months check out the Garden Club of Bermuda website gardenclubbermuda.org/horticulture