Winter is a time where most plants go dormant, so it should be a time when the gardener can finally rest. I hate to tell you that there is plenty to do during the off season to keep you busy. Plant people do not sit around twiddling their thumbs all winter. If you don’t know where to start, check out my garden winter checklist.
Start A Compost Pile
There’s no better time to start or revamp your compost pile than the winter months. Start your compost pile in a sunny area. Soil and compost need sunlight just like plants do. Think of all the living organisms in your composting bin. Stack your kitchen scraps, dead leaves, cardboard, paper products, etc in a pile and you will have vital composting soil to use in your garden by summer.
Cover Your Soil-
Planting cover crops that do well in the colder months like peas, clover, and grasses help provide nutrients and protection to the soil. It’s always a good idea to keep plants in the ground for as much of the year as you can. This will help lock in those helpful microorganisms that will help increase productivity of your next harvest. Once you have your crops planted, you can go an extra step and cover the rest of the soil with mulch or wood chips. This layer will help protect against weeds and improve drainage in your soil.
Plan Your Spring Garden-
Spring will be here faster than you think and you’ll need to have a plan ready to execute. Some varieties of seeds need to start indoors several weeks before the last frost date. Write out a list of what you want to plant and a schedule of when you need to start planting. Sounds like a great excuse to start a garden journal. You can also get a head start by purchasing seeds in the winter. This is the best time to find the cheapest seeds.
Bring Cactus & Succulents Inside-
I saw a few too many upsetting posts in local Facebook groups of people who left their cacti out on their front porch during a snowstorm. Needless to say there were a lot of casualties and sad plant moms in my neighborhood. Cacti and succulents are hardy plants, but do not tolerate the cold well. Keep your eye on the weather in the colder months, just in case. Be sure to spray plants before bringing them indoors to prevent contaminating your houseplants
Skip The Fertilizer-
As mentioned before, most garden plants do go dormant during the colder months. If you still give a plant fertilizer when the plant is not growing anymore, you risk causing nutrient burn and damaging the roots. Do your research and get to know what plants do dormant in the winter as well as the summer. Some succulents actually stop growing during the warmer months. Find out your plant’s growing season and fertilize accordingly.
I’d love to know what’s on your garden winter checklist. Let me know in the comments! And join my Fox On A Farm Facebook group to get to know each other and share gardening tips and advice.