With the arrival of winter, there are many challenges for anyone running a smallholding. In this article, we provide tips and advice on how to prepare your smallholding for the colder winter months.
Store away unused garden equipment
Leaving equipment out in the cold can lead to problems in the warmer months when you need to use them. Whether it’s chainsaws, lawnmowers or hedge trimmers we strongly recommend cleaning unused equipment thoroughly and putting them away in a dry storage area until you need to use them again.
Even if you plan to use some of the equipment throughout the winter, it’s still worth making sure they are kept somewhere warmer and drier to avoid issues such as getting rusty or damaged.
Prepare and clear the ground
It’s essential to prepare the ground for winter and ensure it has the proper nutrients, not just to get through winter, but also so that it’s healthy when the spring and summer months arrive.
And one way to strengthen the ground is by aerating.
Aerating the soil using a rotavator creates small holes in the soil so that fresh air and nutrients can enter the soil, but it’s important to do this while the ground is relatively soft - and before the winter months harden the soil.
Excessive leaves and other debris from trees (especially orchards) and bushes can also suffocate lawns and soil, preventing them from getting vital sunlight and air. Make sure to keep the ground as clear as possible. A lot of the debris can be quickly cleared away using a leaf blowers and garden vacs.
If the ground is dry enough, a lawnmower with a grass collector and slightly raised blades can also help to top off the grass as well as to pick up leaves and other small debris.
Small holding winter management
With autumn coming to an end, smallholding owners can quickly find there’s a lot to clear up, whether it’s broken branches from high winds, leaves from trees as winter arrives or vegetation and plants that have died.
We recommend working in batches when clearing up to save time. Off-road vehicles with a trailer can also help in collecting and taking away any waste - especially large branches that might have fallen.
Make sure the animals are taken care of
Livestock needs to be considered in the winter and you might need to prepare a different area or living space for them that’s warmer and more suitable for the colder, darker days and nights.
This might also require fixing any fences as well as feeders to avoid having hungry or thirsty livestock during the colder months.
Plan for the winter, and spring
There’s always a lot to do on a smallholding and it’s important to plan ahead to avoid any nasty surprises. Take time to sit down and write a list of what needs to be done so that you can prioritise.
Ask questions such as:
- What needs to be stored away for winter
- What needs fixing in time for winter
- What can be fixed in winter ready for spring
- What preparation and planting do I need to do for the spring
Another consideration is servicing and repairs of all your essential garden equipment. The winter is a good time to do lawn mower servicing and repairs of other machinery so that your equipment is ready to be used in spring and summer.
At John Miller Garden Machinery, we provide a great range of machinery to help you manage your smallholding throughout the year. Make sure to visit our shop in Chippenham to find out more or call our friendly team on 01249 652 573 or advice on garden machinery for smallholdings