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What to do with bare soil over winter

robin.doubleurobin.doubleu Posts: 1
edited October 2018 in Problem solving
Hello all,

I have bought my first house. The front garden has some really large beds which were covered in months worth of weeds. I have cleared the weeds and now have bare soil and no plants at all.

I am not sure what to do with the soil over winter. Someone suggested woodchip as it will help the soil and prevent rain from washing away nutrients in the soil. Someone else said that leaving it bare is fine. 

I am a beginner and I am not sure what is best. I would like to discourage weeds from growing while making the soil really nice for planting in spring.

Any advice?


  • UpNorthUpNorth Posts: 376
    leave it bare. 

    you need to see in spring (read: when warm enough again) what weeds grow. 

    it's not ideal to plant loads of stuff in spring, then find a really difficult load of weeds to 'manage' later.  best to clear as you have done, then see what weeds grow, then tackle them....then finally do what you're planning.

    what you could do now, is dig over some areas, see if you can work out if you've got clay based soil, or sandy soil.....then it might help you spend the winter months planning.  

  • LynLyn Posts: 21,869
    Whatever you choose to do, I would advise covering the area with chicken wire or every cat in the neighbourhood will use it for a toilet. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,152
    I would cover the bare areas with bagged well rotted manure (from Garden centres) as it will help to keep the weeds down, protect and enrich the soil over winter, should keep the cats away and if any weeds do come through, they will be easy to see and pull out.
    If you don't like the bare look, you could always plant a few small shrubs here and there or possibly stand some plants in pots in the middle temporarily.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • I second Lizzie27's suggestion.  By the time planting time comes, the soil will be in good condition.  If you have heavy/clay soil then I would repeat the process of mulching with bagged manure each autumn and your soil will improve immensely over the next few years.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,045
    I actually like bare soil in winter. I can mulch to my heart's content and then wait for everything to erupt in Spring. 
    I love the contrast between Winter's emptiness and Summer's exuberance. 
    I go on holiday in Winter so I'm not around much to worry about " Winter interest "
  • a1154a1154 Posts: 1,058
    If they are large beds, don’t you want to put trees, shrubs, and spring bulbs in? If you don’t have time, I’d agree mulch with well rotted manure from garden centres. Someone usually has a deal on if you shop around. 
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