Winter has well and truly set in, and snow is falling in parts of Australia. Winter is the perfect time of year to get annoying bugs and grubs out of your garden, but as an amateur gardener, you might not be sure how to tackle this task. Use these tips to flush grubs, beetles and other soil dwellers out of their hibernation home.
Remove Existing Mulch
Mulch in the garden does the hard work of keeping water and nutrients from evaporating from the soil during the summer months. However, during winter, mulch makes the soil warm and cosy, which is exactly where garden pests like to hide.
The first step to getting grubs and bugs out of your soil is to remove the mulch that is hiding them. Use a large rake to move the existing mulch from the garden bed and off to one side. Leave the soil exposed for a month or two to allow the frost to penetrate the dirt and dissipate the warmth.
Turn The Soil
Once you have exposed the soil, head outside every weekend and turn it over with a garden fork or spade. You can buy both of these at your local hardware store. Turning the soil over regularly in the winter achieves three things. Firstly, it brings the bugs to the surface where they can be picked off by birds as a tasty feed. Secondly, it allows oxygen to get into the soil. This oxygen will be a valuable resource once you are ready to grow plants again. Finally, continual turnover of soil stops weeds from growing in the exposed dirt. Since weeds are also a place where garden pests thrive, you must keep them at bay until the mulch is back in place.
Replace The Mulch
After the soil has been exposed for three to four weeks, replace the mulch layer to start warming up the soil again. Check the mulch pile that you placed to one side to see if it is reusable. The best way to determine this is to pick up a pile of it in your hands. If it has decomposed down to fine particles, then it is no longer of use to you. If it still has plenty of chunky parts in it, then you can reuse it on your garden and top it up with new, fresh mulch as required.
Mulch removal helps to ensure your spring garden growth has minimal grubs to deal with, so take the time this winter to get outside and turn your dirt over.