When to prepare new beds for next year?

Hi everyone, hope you all enjoyed the dreary bank holiday weekend!

Thanks to the board's design suggestions a few months ago my garden is looking a lot better, from this:


 To this:


 Although the sunshine in the first picture looks quite appealing!

The path is just a skeleton at the moment, so ignore the hodge podge of paving stones and grass and bark chips and weeds there, as they will eventually be gone, I was just marking it out to get the shape of the beds etc. The idea is that all the beds will eventually go right up to the path, and the path will most likely end up gravelled (I know it can get messy with falling leaves, but seems like the best option for me).

My plan is to plant the remaining beds up next year, so is there any merit to digging out the beds now? I've been reading about people putting a layer of compost or mulch or something over the top of the beds before winter so they are better the next year, is that a good idea in this case? Or would digging the beds now and leaving them unplanted serve no purpose except another space for neighbourhood cats to go to the toilet image? If it helps, my soil is clay (South London), and slightly acidic.

Thanks for all your help so far, hopefully you'll agree the garden is looking a bit better!


  • chickychicky SurreyPosts: 8,537

    Its looking great Mondegreenimage

    I think digging the beds and covering with a really thick layer of organic mulch (garden compost or  well rotted manure) would be a really good idea.  Over the winter the worms and the frosts will break it down for you, and by next spring you will have wonderful soil to work withimage

    We did not inherit the earth from our grandparents.  We’re borrowing it from our children.
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 13,869

    Oh well done, Mondegreen. I agree with Chicky, dig and mulch the beds before winter. You could always plant some bulbs (if you want them) when you've done it.

    Lovely shed.

    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • TootlesTootles Posts: 1,469

    Looks fab Mondegreen. It's good to get borders done this time of year. Easier to dig out weeds after rain when the ground is soft. Also like others have said, the cold will help break the soil down and make it more crumbly. Nice blank canvas to plant up. 

    Great shed! Love the colour. 

  • Thanks everyone! As I mentioned, this forum has been invaluable for garden advice and I love lurking and looking at everyone's pictures, so thanks again for all your advice image.

    For the beds, would standard multi-purpose compost be sufficient as a cover for the beds? I've been looking online and see that there are lots of soil improvers and manure and the like, but it seems impossible to get them delivered in small amounts: the only access to my garden is through our (first floor) flat - up the stairs from the front door, through the flat, then down the metal back stairs to the garden - so a ton of well-rotted manure is not really feasible (and probably not necessary given the size of my garden!). Multi-purpose compost is easy for me to get from local stores like Wickes etc., would it work for this purpose?

    If not, do any of you buy your supplies online from places with reasonable shipping? I've been doing some investigations to see if local areas would have manure I could use but so far I haven't come up with anything useful!

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