Winter is looming and the last of the garden bounty has been harvested from most regions in the US, but the impending cold doesn’t mean you have to hang up your trowel just yet. There are many ways to keep your gardening passions alive even through the harshest cold spells. Use our checklist below to inspire your winter green thumb.
Winter Gardening Tips
Extend your crops. In most regions, plants like onions, leeks, radishes, spinach, kale, carrots, turnips and rutabaga will thrive through the winter with proper care. For leafy greens, a simple cold frame can purchased (companies like Advantek make affordable cold frame greenhouses) or fashioned by hand. Root vegetables simply require sufficient ground cover like a thick layer of straw to help protect them from the cold and snow. The key is to get the crops in now before the ground freezes and you can reap the benefits all winter long.
Start an indoor container garden. Plants like peppers, miniature tomatoes, green onions, figs, lettuce, radishes, strawberries and garlic all thrive in indoor environments. Lighting, soil depth, proper watering and temperature will all play into the success of these crops. With a little research, a sunny space and minimal care, you’ll enjoy fresh produce year-round from indoor container gardens.
Play with seeds. Herb gardens are quite easy to grow indoors, hence their immense popularity. Most herbs require very little maintenance but offer rich rewards for your culinary concoctions. If you want to have a little fun with your herb garden, get crafty with products like Native Cast’s Cast Your Own Garden Kits. These kits comes with eco-concrete mix, a mold shape, organic potting soil, and seeds including Sweet Basil, Chives, Italian Parsley, Sage, Catnip, Cilantro, or Thyme. If you are low on space, consider revolutionary products like the CobraCo Expandable Window Planter with adjustable shelves that collapse and expand to fit nearly any window or shelf garden space.
Plan next year’s garden. It’s never too early to think about next year’s garden and the more you plan now, the easier it will be to get started in the spring. Plot out your crop rotations and determine if you need any new containers or plant beds for the next season. Clean and inspect your gardening equipment and make a list of items that need to be replaced. Inventory your seeds, then order seed catalogs and makes notes of plants you need and those you’d like to experiment with in your garden next year. Take advantage of off-season pricing and specials throughout the winter to replenish your supplies.
Enhance your gardening skills. Check with your local extension office or college for gardening courses that may be offered in the winter. Browse the bookstores or visit your local library and check out books on gardening topics of interest. We tend to spend more time inside in the winter, why not use this downtime to improve your gardening knowledge or learn new skills to implement next year? If you are not in the mood to read or sit in a classroom environment, then sit down with a neighbor or friend who has great gardening skills and ask them to share their tips and tricks with you.