People who have a sustained passion for gardening may get a bit gloomy this time of the year as they anticipate the start of winter. They may think it just isn’t practical to garden during cold days or they can’t tolerate the cold to pursue an activity that they love.
There are parts of the country where it doesn’t get too frigid and conditions can be tolerated. And if you live in those areas, then gardening during winter can be a benefit.
Getting out of the house can ease claustrophobia and it is healthy, too. The activity of gardening is a form of exercising.
Moreover, despite what you may have been told about gardening in winter, there are plenty of things that do grow including fresh fruits and vegetables.
Now that you’ve been encouraged to combat the cold, there are a few things you need to research that will help you with the pastime.
DOA Hardiness Zone Map
You need to know what flora; vegetables and fruits grow during winter in your area of the country. A great source that helps you do this is the Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zone map. The map is color-coded and divides the country into zones. Locate where you live and determine what zone it is and the information can assist you in finding the right species of plants, shrubs, trees, vegetables and fruits you can grow in your region.
Once you are armed with this data, visit your local nursery and consult with a salesperson. He or she will help you select the produce and flora that will thrive in your garden during winter.
In short, people who have pursued the hobby of gardening during the dead of winter advise that you grow hardy plants that can tolerate the cold. Cold-hardy vegetables you can grow include:
- Collard Greens
- Snow Peas
- Swiss Chard
- Brussels Sprouts
If you want to expand the type of flora and vegetables you choose to grow beyond what the Hardiness Zone Map suggests, consider these tips.
- Create small high tunnels that protect plants from wind and frost.
- Plant in containers that you can leave outdoors when the weather is right and take indoors when the frost appears.
- Construct a cold frame.
- Create a raised flowerbed that positions plants above ground to take advantage of the warmer temperatures.
- Purchase indoor grow lights that artificially light indoor plants and stimulate growth by simulating the effects of the sun.
- Construct a greenhouse.
- Create your garden indoors with a hydroponic garden.
- Spread mulch around the plants of your outdoor garden.
Since sunlight is limited during winter, take advantage of the sun when it is available. Locate containers, cold frame, and raised flowerbeds in areas that get the most sunlight. You can determine these areas by simply observing where the sunniest areas are during the day.
Do’s And Don’ts of Winter Gardening
Here are tips for what to do and not do when gardening outdoors during the winter.
- Use organic fertilizer.
- Moisten soil before planting and mulch soil after planting.
- Smother plants in organic mulch.
- Don’t replace native soil. But if you must, test the new soil for its pH level and drainage capability.
- Don’t nurture plants in wet soil. There could be drainage issues and the soil may be compacted and limit air spaces.
- Don’t use concrete sand, peat moss or pine back mulch for winter gardens.
- Don’t use fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides that have chemicals.