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Growing through Winter by Cath Manuel

31 May, 2019

With the warmth of summer behind us and the cool days ahead, now is a perfect time to enjoy being outdoors and participating in garden activities.

A range of activities are included in a weekly lifestyle program within aged care for residents to soak up some sunshine and enjoy time digging, potting and picking from the gardens.

Winter is also a great time for growing delicious crops and a range of lovely herbs and flowers.

To enjoy winter gardening follow these simple steps;

  • Prepare garden beds for planting – prior to growing winter crops, remove plants that have finished growing through the warm seasons and add old plants to compost bins or worm farms. Gently dig over the soil to loosen then add organic ingredients to improve soil prior to planting. Find tips for feeding your garden here – https://soiltosupper.com/5-easy-ways-to-feed-your-garden-and-grow-more-food/
  • Plan what you’ll grow through the coming months – this time of year is for Brassicas (kale, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts), broad beans, snow peas, sugar snap peas, spinach and onions. If you’re in a warmer climate try growing spring onions and leek. Also add flowers of pansy, viola alyssum and petunias amongst vegetables and herbs.
  • Include a few companion plants to support the health of the garden. A few of my favourites are marigolds, nasturtiums, chives, borage and sacred basil. Find a few other ideas here – https://soiltosupper.com/how-to-grow-companion-plants-in-your-garden/
  • Gather your gardeners (residents) to help with basic jobs – light pruning, raking up leaves, repotting plants, deadheading flowers and saving seeds are all jobs that everyone can help with.
  • Tidy up the garden shed and give gardening tools some lovin’ – a tidy garden shed makes gardening time much more enjoyable as everything you need is always on hand and easily accessible. Follow the steps here for maintaining your gardening tools https://soiltosupper.com/5-ways-to-maintain-your-gardening-tools-and-equipment/
  • Enjoy table-top activities during the cooler months – some people prefer not to head outdoors on cooler days, so bring the gardening activities indoors! Set up a large table with space for many to join in and complete activities as a group. Try seed sowing, propagating new plants from cuttings, potting herbs, flower arranging, making kokodama balls, flower pressing or other fun group activities. Find extra ideas here – https://soiltosupper.com/top-5-therapeutic-gardening-activities-from-2018/

The winter sunshine is wonderfully soothing for us all and along with active time gardening it’s a great way to enhance overall wellbeing.

So make the most of this lovely time of year and encourage residents to join in with activities to foster social interaction and positive habits for their health.

Growing with you,


Cath Manuel is a Horticultural Consultant specialising in Therapeutic and Kitchen Gardens. Cath is the Founder and Director of Soil to Supper which provides onsite services and also online programs through the Soil to Supper Community. She is the host of The Wellbeing Garden Podcast Program. Cath has many years’ experience in the horticulture industry and has a great passion for sharing her knowledge to inspire people of all ages and abilities to enjoy gardening activities and grow fresh food.

Find more on therapeutic gardening at www.soiltosupper.com