Gardening in the Winter – Winter Activities to Relieve the Gardening Blues

Winter is a difficult period for gardeners. Particularly in the months following Christmas, when the decorations and lights have been put away and our gardens have been blanketed in snow. But just because there’s nothing to do in the garden right now doesn’t mean we can’t start planning for next spring.

Winter is a perfect time to start thinking about next year’s garden. As a gardener who enjoys taking stock of last year’s accomplishments and mistakes, I look forward to an opportunity to think about how I can do things bolder and better this year. A magnificent garden, like a well-built house, begins with a set of plans.

Go out into your garden with a pen and notebook at the end of winter, when the warm days are beginning to return, and take a survey of what needs to be done. Is it necessary to move or divide perennials? Do you want to put in any new beds, and if so, where would you like to put them? It’s a good idea to keep track of how much sunshine and shadow various parts of your garden get.

Different plants prefer different levels of light, and most catalogues will list this information. Draw a general diagram of what you want to plant and where you want to plant it if you’re planting vegetables. Don’t forget to rotate your crops!

It’s a good idea to have a soil test after the soil thaws, especially before you start any new garden beds. For a modest cost, you may usually submit a sample to your local extension office or institution.

Other winter activities to keep you occupied include:

Garden tools should be cleaned and repaired on a regular basis – Your hand tools will survive for decades if you clean them of filth and rust, sharpen them, and then cover them with oil for protection.

Take good care of your houseplants – During the summer, when I’d rather be outside, my houseplants always appear to be neglected. It’s time to show them some affection. Take control of any pest problems you may have. Plants that have become pot-bound should be divided or root pruned. The divisions you create can be given as Easter or Mother’s Day gifts.

Feed the birds – Construct or decide to buy a bird feeder. The wildlife you attract can keep the whole family entertained for several hours.

Grow Sprouts – Sprouts are a simple method to maintain growing your own nutritious greens all winter long. All you need is a window sill and a mason jar. Sprouting seeds are available in many health food stores, and instructions are usually printed on the container.

Grow a herb garden indoors – You’re set if you have a spacious, south-facing window. Otherwise, high-output grow lights can be purchased to allow you to produce herbs and greens year-round indoors. There are even kits available online that include everything you’ll need to start an indoor herb garden.

Visit a local nursery or greenhouse – When the winter blues have you down, taking in all the colours and surroundings can be therapeutic.

Attend gardening workshops and exhibits – Many seminars and market events are held during the winter months, when serious growers have more free time.

Purchase more books – I don’t know about you, but there are never enough gardening books in my library.

Don’t give up! Whatever you do, don’t give up! I hope that these activities will keep you sane throughout the winter months.