Winter warmers: Clean your gutters, fix your shed and protect garden furniture

 KEEP on top of those, and you’ll save yourself no end of time and cash in the course of the remainder of the year. 

Gutters, downpipes and drains

EVERY gardener deserves a couple of weeks’ rest on the end of the growing season – time to mull over next year’s seed catalogues by a roaring fire – but now it’s time for all those routine maintenance jobs.

As soon because the last leaves have fallen, clean out your guttering. If downpipes discharge into an out of doors drain, clean debris from the grating so it won’t overflow in a downpour and flood the trail.

Water butts

Now is the time to drain these and clean them out. Scrub the within to take away any algae, and rinse with greenhouse disinfectant followed by plain water. In case you do the job now, there’s quite a lot of time for butts to refill over winter. 

Cover butts with lids to maintain stored water clean. As one other precaution, especially for rainwater that you’ll use for watering delicate seedlings in spring, add a biological additive comparable to Refresh. When cleaning out a greenhouse water butt, clean the glass roof too, in order that water running off it stays free from dust, seeds and bird droppings.

Sheds and fences

Check the state of the roofing felt on top of the shed. Use pressure-treated timber battens to mend down loose edges, and replace the felt entirely if it’s torn and not waterproof (otherwise the roof timbers will soon begin to rot). Choose a dry weekend to color all exposed timber, including fencing and decking, with an appropriate wood preservative product. 

Outdoor furniture

Plastic tables and seats often discolour as a result of long-term exposure to light, or they become stained by algae if left outside. If there’s nowhere else to store them, stack them and canopy with a tarpaulin or heavy-duty plastic sheet, well tied down.

Hardwood furniture that’s intended to be left outside all year round keeps its colour if treated with a proper product (see the maker’s instructions or look them up online if you’ve lost the unique leaflet). Teak oils and similar products take a very long time to soak in thoroughly, and that they leave a residue which may mark clothes. Apply them now so that they are fully absorbed before you need to use the furniture again.

Painted metal furniture eventually starts to flake, and the nooks and crannies trap dirt and algae, so that they start to look tatty after several seasons outside. Clean them up outdoor with a bathing-up brush (an old toothbrush is sweet for the fiddly bits), then wash down well with warm, soapy water. When dry, take them inside a workshop, lay quite a lot of old newspaper down, and respray using spray paint intended for outside use on metal work. Two coats might be had to cover them well. Don’t return them outside until they’re thoroughly dry.

Resin furniture could be left outside all year round, but be mindful that seats with rattan-style textures can trap dirt and algae so it’s wise to hide them if they’re going to spend the winter outdoors. Simply wash them down with warm soapy water and a soft brush before the beginning of the subsequent sitting-out season. 

Better still, bring good-quality furniture into the conservatory. Then you definitely can sit there on chilly winter days and plan all of the jobs you’ll be doing inside the garden next spring.