When most people talk about winter, they imagine a peaceful evening by the fire, no outdoor work, putting away all of your gardening equipment and simply plan for next year.
While all of these statements may be true, winter doesn’t completely limit your activities in the garden. Whether you’re an expert or a rookie gardener, it is important to keep in mind that several winter garden tasks may be of use to you once summer season sets in again.
10 Winter Garden Tasks
In this article, we will talk about things that will keep you busy! Winter is no time to slack around. Here are ten things to do to keep you pre-occupied all throughout winter.
1. Raised Bed Gardening
Building raised gardens or other structures is an excellent activity for the winter months. If you set out a new raised garden in the late fall, there will be plenty of time to give lasagna gardening a try. Fill the area with alternating layers of compost, brown and green material. Keep the area well turned throughout the dormant months, watering as needed. By utilizing the garden waste of the summer and autumn, you will save quite a bit of money. Come spring, you will have created a nutrient rich environment for your plants to thrive.
2. Tool Cleaning and Sharpening
If you haven’t figured it out yet, gardening is hard work. There is rarely any time during the summer to maintain your clipper’s and snipper’s functionality. With that being said, winter is a fine time to sharpen and oil your tools. Remember, a sharp blade saves time in cutting, and it lessens the damage done to your plants.
3. Seed Cataloging
Winter is also the best time to look over those seed catalogs. Starting in December, you should start receiving the new year’s seed and plant catalogs. Many gardeners spend hours flipping through the pages of the latest offerings, getting excited about all the latest varieties to grow.
Before you start ordering, take an inventory of the bulbs or seeds you have left over from last year. Looks for any signs of mold or rot since changes in humidity or temperature can cause your bulbs to go bad. This can also happen to any seed that you may have saved. Make sure that bulbs and seeds are kept in a cool area where they are well-aerated.
4. Attend a Flower Show
You can take this time to visit a garden expo or flower show. Many larger cities hold their annual flower shows in late winter/early spring. This is the time you will have a chance to meet with local merchants, buy new seed varieties and see all the new gardening gadgets and tools they have to offer.
Find out if there are any botanical gardens nearby. Typically there will be a holiday event schedule with some pretty amazing displays that are well worth the trip.
5. Compost Pile Building
Keep in mind that there is still a need for compost pile building even when it is cold outside. As long as you turn the pile and keep it covered, it will still break down over the cooler months. Don’t forget to collect leaves and other garden waste during this time, and mix them into the compost bin, so they have plenty of time to decay.
6. Leave the Perennials in Place
You’ll be tempted to get a head start on spring cleaning by cutting the garden bed to the ground once leaves have fallen, but here’s something to consider – the praying mantis which is a great friend to the garden. The praying mantis lay eggs on dried old flower stalks. In fact, many insects make use of last year’s garden plants for their hibernation, so before you cut down your perennials, consider letting the old seed heads hang out – it will make your garden more interesting!
7. Bird Feeding
Helping the birds survive through the winter can be quite a relaxing and fulfilling hobby. You can leave flower stalks in the garden, set out a bowl of fruit, or hang a new bird feeder. This act can go a long way, and the birds will truly appreciate it.
8. Plant Pruning
While you may want to leave the perennials be, you can still do a good bit of pruning to the trees in your garden. Pruning refers to the act of removing certain parts of the plant, such as roots, buds, or branches. With pruning, you’ll be able to control the growth of the plant. During winter, take the time to prune wisteria, as well as most trees, including pears and apples or other trees to create multi-stemmed specimens.
9. Houseplant Cleaning
Houseplants are the plants that are often overlooked. This will be the perfect time to provide some TLC for your houseplants. Dust off the leaves and clean them with a moist cloth or you can inspect the plants for any insects. If there any sticky residue on the leaves, there is a high chance that an insect has been visiting it.
10. Winter Garden Planning
If you plan to simply dream and scheme about your garden goals next year, winter is the best time to do so. Furthermore, you can plan to grow something new, something you will truly enjoy. Plant a group of purple lupines on the hillside, a row of sunflowers lining the back garden fence or an edible garden close to the kitchen – there are so many things you can try. Pick a challenge and read up!