Summer gardens are usually very pretty. A big harvest, beautiful flowers, and fragrant herbs everywhere. While winter gardening isn’t as eventful or rewarding, there are many things you need to do. If you need topsoil for new garden beds, you can search for “topsoil near me” and buy a few bags from a local store. Let’s check out a few useful winter weather gardening tips.
Tips & Tricks
- Protect flowering plants – If you’ve chosen plants with the local weather and hardiness zone in mind, they will survive the harsh winter season. However, flowering plants like cherry trees, plums, and camellias would have a very difficult time surviving without your help. When these flowering plants have swollen buds that are about to bloom, a hard freeze can be very damaging.
The damage remains out of sight until the flowers open up with brown spots on the petals. In severe cases, the entire bud may get frozen, killed, and fall off the plant. On the other hand, fully open flowers would be burned by the hard freeze, turn a sickly shade of brown and drop to the ground.
While one wilting flower wouldn’t stand out, a bunch of them on the plant creates a very unsightly appearance. You can prevent this by covering those budding plants and open flowers with a frost cover or an old sheet. Make sure not to cover them with plastic sheets since that traps heat and creates an oven effect that isn’t good for the buds of flowers either. You can also cut off the buds before the freeze hits and bring them inside your house so that they can open up in a protected environment.
- Compost pile – If you have a backyard garden make sure to save that kitchen waste and all other types of organic waste. You can build a compost pile with that organic waste and create amazing chemical-free fertilizers for your plants. Yes, the composting would be very slow during the cold season, and you won’t be able to use it during those cold months. However, the compost pile isn’t for your winter crops. Instead, they are a pre-emptive step for the busy spring season.
You can start a compost pile now and save yourself the trouble later when you’d be very busy fertilizing the soil, tending to your plants, and mowing the lawn. By composting now, you can create an ideal environment for bacteria. They will stay dormant during the cold months and as the temperature starts to rise, they will become very active to give you that precious black goo.
- Prepare and cover garden beds – If you plan on planting crops during the winter season, you need to prepare the garden beds really well. The decision of planting directly on the ground or on raised beds depends on several factors including your growing zone and if you can keep maintaining the ground at warmer temperatures.
Moreover, you may need to build a shelter for your garden bed if you live in a place that’s prone to hailstorms and rainfall. The shelter helps you extend your gardening period and protects your harvest. There’s no need to invest in expensive materials either. Polymer-based frames with plastic sheets are all you need. Make sure that there is enough ventilation for warm days. You need to finish your garden bed shelter before the first frost of the season hits.
Even with garden bed shelters, you need to protect your plants with mulch. The soil dehydrates rapidly during the winter season. With mulch, the moisture is locked in and this also increases the soil’s heat-retention capabilities. Make sure to use organic mulch like hay, rice hulls, and straw since they turn into nutrition for your plants and also suppress weeds from taking over. It also helps control soil erosion.
You can also use cold frames if you want to grow leafy greens like lettuce and cabbage throughout the winter. They provide ample heat and protection and can also be used for other winter vegetables like brussels sprouts and root vegetables. You can make row covers to extend your growing season as much as possible and your gardening zone will decide the height of those tunnels.
- Plant cold-resistant veggies and herbs – The cold weather shouldn’t discourage you from gardening during the harsh season. There are certain veggies, herbs, and plants that thrive during the cold season. You can extend your garden with these plants. Check the US hardiness zone your region falls in and consult a local garden center for a list of veggies and herbs that are suited for cold climates.
It’s also a great opportunity to test your soil’s pH levels to figure out how you can amend the soil to make it ideal for growing those crops. During the winter season, you can grow veggies like beetroot, lettuce, chard, cauliflower, and even spring onions. Buy the seeds from your local garden center instead of ordering online. That’s because your local garden would already do the research and have a catalog of seeds that are suited for your region during the winter months.
- Polish and clean gardening tools – Even with those gardening beds and winter vegetables, you won’t spend a lot of time outside doing active gardening. Make the best use of that free time to clean and polish your garden tools before you store them in the shed.
Wash the dirt off those tools and use sandpaper or a de-rusting solution to get rid of the rust. After you clean those tools, let them dry, and then apply lubricants to coat the metal surface. This way the tools are in pristine condition when you take them out the next season and start using them right away.
As you can see, winter gardening is more about preparing for the upcoming season and protecting your existing plants instead of improving your garden. If you need topsoil for any of those tasks, you can search for “topsoil near me” and buy it from a local store.