Winter can be a tough time on our gardens and it is important to stay on top of our gardening to ensure they will survive the cooler climates.

Here is your guide to tackling the chillier months in Australia and how you can ensure your garden flourishes in time for spring and summer.

What should I do in my garden during the winter in Australia?

One of the key things you can do when the temperature starts tracking downwards is to prepare for rain that will arrive in spring and summer (especially in the more tropical parts of the country). Over winter, the soil can become resistant to moisture, so if you notice any pooling on the surface, then look at applying a wetting agent.

Just because it is cold doesn’t mean you should avoid time in the garden as well. This is a time of the year when weeds can really mature and set seed, which becomes a big problem. Ensure you are staying on top of the weeding so they don’t get out of control in the warmer months.

It is also a great time of year to prepare for summer in terms of any landscaping tasks that you want to do. That way when the sun comes out, your yard and gardens will be ready to enjoy.

What plants are best to plant in winter?

Believe it or not, winter is a great time to get planting so that they can flourish in spring and look great by summer. What to plant in these months depends on your region, so here are some of the best crops to get started with, depending on your region.

Southeast Queensland and northern NSW: Kale and sunflowers are great in subtropical regions during winter, while you should have success with violas, marigolds and poppies as well.

North Queensland, NT, WA and outback regions: The mercury is not going to plummet too far in the tropical regions and beautiful plants like chrysanthemum, kangaroo paw, carnations and dahlia will thrive.

NSW and Victoria: In the more temperate climates you should look at some native options because they are tougher and stand up to a more dry climate.

Melbourne and Tasmania: Options are a little limited where the cold really sets in, but geranium, pansies and poppies should be robust enough to survive.

Adelaide and Perth: Wallflowers and forget-me-not’s are perfect options for the mild wet winters in Mediterranean climates.

When should I fertilise my garden?

There is a bit of a common misconception that you don’t need to fertilise in winter, but that is not true. It is correct that you should avoid the high nitrogen fertilisers commonly used in the warmer months but potassium-based fertilisers are highly effective during the cooler months and will help your plants become stronger and more robust.

Should you feed your plants when it’s cold?

The short answer is yes, but in moderation. You should halve the volume of watering and fertiliser and as previously mentioned, focus on more potassium and less nitrogen.

Above all, practice caution and watch the behaviour of your crops. If they look like they need a little more TLC than usual, then do so with care. Sometimes plants can be more demanding when the seasons are temperamental, so monitor your garden regularly.