For those of you who may be living in regions of the country that experience the harshest winters, the gardening period may be over for you for now. However, if you live in a mild-winter region, then go ahead and enjoy extending the joys of gardening.
Winter gardening has a number of benefits. First, there is the joy of being able to enjoy the hobby. Second, it helps in reducing the number of pests and insects. Third, there’s less watering. Fourth, there’s the delicious taste of the many crops that you can grow in winter.
The best time to plant if you intend to extend your gardening into the winter months is in the fall.
Gardeners who have extended their days outside in winter have done a number of things that help the growing.
First, they have gone for a northern or eastern exposure to the sun rather than a southern one. They suggest that plants exposed to the south sky are susceptible
to the southern sun on warm winter days and this results in more temperature variations than you want.
Second, they apply 3-inches to 4-inches of mulch to their garden after the soil freezes to keep it cold. This helps reduce root injury and helps in the battle against continual freezing and thawing.
Third, They wrap twine around their plant stems to protect them from the weight of frost. They suggest that you wrap heavy twine starting at the base of the plant and spiraling upward to the top and back down. This helps to promote healthier plants and provides support against plant breakage.
Fourth, Many winter gardeners stretch a section of burlap around a few stakes to protect young plants from wind gusts coming from the south and west. This protects plants from drying in the winter sun, from strong winds, and from salts that may splash from the roads and driveway.
Fifth, they understand that it is essential to keep their plants from drying out. Plants lose moisture through their leaves and the roots are unable to absorb water because the soil may be frozen during winter. To prevent plants from drying out, offer them a proper amount of water through the growing season and into the fall. Decrease watering slightly in the fall to encourage hardening off, and then water thoroughly again in October and continue until the soil freezes.
Sixth, they protect their plants from becoming a winter food source for animals including rabbits, mice and voles. They wrap fencing or other types of protection around their plants to prevent the animals from chowing down on them.