5 Winter Garden Tips – What You Should Be Doing
As the seasons change and the temperatures drop, the livelihood of your garden dwindles and often gets neglected until spring. However, you don’t have to put away the gardening gloves just yet. In fact, by maintaining your garden even through the winter months, you can have an even more successful planting experience next season!
While you may have already begun pre-winter preparation with our Fall Gardening Tips blog, these next tips are strictly for winter maintenance. Your region’s frost dates and average snowfall will ultimately decide how much you can really do, but here are a few tips for the ultimate winter garden.
Winter Garden Tips
1. Choose frost tolerant plants for outdoors.
Depending on your region and the typical frost date, certain plants could survive in your garden even during frigid temperatures. By knowing your hardiness zone and choosing plants with rather fast growth periods, you can easily take advantage before it’s too late.
With that being said, opt to plant produce such as arugula, broccoli, cabbage, kale, lettuce, onions, spinach, and more that can withstand hard frost. Keep in mind that the days are also much shorter in the winter, meaning your plants are receiving less sunlight. That may mean a longer growing period, but you can find out if you can squeeze in any seedlings and accommodate for certain plants here.
2. Keep your plants covered.
Did you know snow is actually a very effective insulator? According to expert blog Dave’s Garden, even when your plants are dormant above ground, the roots are still actively growing unless the ground is frozen. Wet snow allows moisture to slowly seep in, and a blanket of snow helps keep the ground from freezing. This keeps the roots active, the soil moist, and helps prevent frost penetration. In fact, “9 inches of snow cover can make a 42-degree difference in temperature.” (My Northern Garden)
No snowfall yet? No worries, utilize mulch or even fallen leaves as insulation to maintain a steady temperature so fragile plants and seedlings stay protected during varying temperatures. Find out more about winter mulching here.
3. Take care of weeds as much as possible.
Whenever those unseasonably warm (and certainly enjoyable) days happen during winter, weeds will be the first to germinate. Prevent weeds from taking over by removing them anytime there’s a warm spell. Take advantage of unfrozen ground to pull weeds from the root when possible. Find more tips on how to control weeds in your lawn and garden to keep these nuisances controlled even in the off-season.
4. Throw dead foliage into your composter.
Yes, you can still continue to reduce waste and compost during the winter! While you’re pruning or altogether removing certain plants from your winter garden, throw unwanted foliage in your compost pile. Heat is a major factor in the composting process, so opt for a heat-retaining composter (such as this all-black option from Good Ideas)
As long as you continue to insulate, aerate, and contribute to your compost pile, fresh soil for houseplants or small planters can still be utilized. Check out 5 simple steps for easy winter composting.
5. Utilize container garden solutions.
Raised beds, greenhouses, and pots and planters provide planting opportunities even in the colder months. Loose soil, trapped heat, and portability are crucial when attempting to tend to a winter garden.
A raised bed with a greenhouse enclosure (such as this one!) keeps plants and their roots a little more protected when it hit below freezing. Pots and planters allow you to effortlessly move plants indoors to become houseplants when necessary. A greenhouse, while it’s a much larger and more permanent structure, greatly extends your growing season.