Winter Gardening for Evergreen Thumbs

Just because it's cold out doesn't mean you can't be enjoying winter gardening. Winter is a great time to get ready for next year and there are a number of things you can be doing to make your garden an even better one next spring.

To keep track of what you are doing in the garden, you might like to Click and Print
the free Plant Notes Printable Planner Page.

Mulch and Compost

Once the garden is finished for the season it's a good time for mulching. Take the last of the lawn clippings, finished compost and dead leaves and work it, or rototill it into your soil in preparation for next year.

Every year you do this builds richer and richer soil.

Throughout the winter keep composting. Keep a compost bin the in the kitchen for convenience and throw your organic scraps in it. Some people even take up worm composting to get beautiful soil ready for spring.

There are a variety of composting bins out there or you can learn how to make your own.

Our kids loved feeding their worms!

Set Your Plants up for Winter

While many plants are finished for the season, not all are. Trees and shrubs are heading into their dormant stages, going into a hibernation of sorts. These plants and roses can benefit greatly from having an insulating pack of mulch at the base of their stalks and trunks. Deciduous trees like Japanese Maples also benefit from having a covering. Burlap sacks work great and keep the tree from drying out during the winter. If there is heavy snow in the winter where you live, consider covering smaller trees that may snap under the weight.

Some plants will also survive in raised beds, as long as the temperatures stay warm enough. Covering with mulch also helps with this.

Some plants can be potted and kept inside for the winter, allowing you to keep gardening all year long! Make a mini herb garden, or even set up a greenhouse so that you can have fresh salad throughout the season.

Plant Bulbs

Bulbs, such as tulips and lilies, are usually the first flowers to bloom at the end of winter. Plant your bulbs in the fall and early winter before the ground freezes, and you'll be pleasantly surprised with color early next year.

Bulbs should be planted around 6 to 8 inches deep, or about three times as deep as the bulb is tall. The package that your bulbs come in will specify depth as well. Make sure they can breathe by using compost mixed with peat moss as soil. Cover the area with mulch. 

During the Winter

There are quite a few things you can do during the cold, dreary months to take care of your plants.

  • Check your garden beds regularly to ensure plants haven't been upheaved from the snow and freezing and thawing of the ground. If they have come up, just replant them. Cover with mulch and compost to keep buried.
  • Keep an eye on trees and shrubs and remove broken, or breaking branches. This prevents them from breaking further down the tree. Remove snow from evergreens to keep the limbs from breaking.
  • Many people also apply dormant oil in early, early spring. This kills pests such as aphids, moths and mites while they're coming out in spring, and protects your tree from being eaten alive. Look for a soybean based dormant oil as opposed to petroleum based for environmental purposes.

Start Planning for Next Year

Winter is the perfect time for browsing gardening magazines and websites for tips and advice for next season. If there was anything that didn't quite work this year research why and know how to do it better next year.

You can also start ordering catalogues and planning out your garden for next year. Browse through all the beautiful plants and decide what you would like to see and take care of next season. Think about how you'd like to change your landscaping or build onto your garden more. Click and Print the Garden Design page and sketch out what you would like your garden to be like; Add plant names.

You can also start buying seeds and start plants later in the winter.

Winter is a great time to pick up other indoor hobbies, but if you just can't get enough of gardening there are all kinds of things for you to do in the winter. Depending on the climate you're in you may be able to tend to plants year-round but if snow prevents it there are ways to take care of your existing plants and prepare for next year. Winter gardening is entirely possible, in different forms.

Like to keep notes on what your plants are doing? Click and Print the free Plant Notes Page.

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