The mention of winter often brings up visions of snowmen, sledding, hot chocolate, and long nights spent inside by the fire. Very few people would say that winter brings their backyard garden to mind. But just because the days are getting shorter and last year’s crops are buried beneath the snow doesn’t mean you have to hang up your gardening gloves just yet. Luckily, there’s plenty of gardening to enjoy all year long! From planning and preparing to find new ways to enjoy your backyard garden, gardening isn’t just a summer hobby anymore.
Who said gardening had to be an outdoor hobby? As long as you have access to a sunny window, you can grow fresh herbs all year round. In fact, with enough space and effort, you can even grow fresh produce all indoors all year round. This winter, test your green thumb by experimenting with a windowsill herb garden. Some beginner-friendly herbs that will thrive inside are basil, chives, lemon balm, parsley, sage, and rosemary. If you’re feeling adventurous, and have an extra sunny window, try growing some produce indoors as well. Carrots, radishes, micro-greens, spinach, and green onions have all grown successfully indoors.
Not scared of a little frost? Depending on where you live, you can grow fresh produce outside, even in the winter. Some extremely hardy crops tolerate temperatures as low as 20℉ to 25℉, including kale, leeks, kohlrabi, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, spinach, and collards. So, depending on where you live, these cold weather superstars could become staples in your kitchen all year round. When planting these crops, be sure to do any tilling or soil work earlier in the season before the ground freezes.
If growing herbs in your windowsill or working outside in frigid temperatures isn’t your cup of tea, there’s still work to be done! Some of the most successful gardens come from hours of planning before a single seed is even purchased. Use winter as your time to get a head start on the next growing season.
All from the comfort of your home, you can plan your garden layout, which crops you will grow, which seeds you will purchase, how you will establish garden routines and what new garden ideas you want to try. Use an online garden planner, or grab a blank notebook, and get planning!
If you get stuck, talk to other gardeners in your community. What plants were most successful in their gardens this past season? Have they found any helpful tips or tricks to deal with common pests? Building connections with other gardeners in your area is extremely helpful to the success of your backyard garden while creating quality relationships along the way.
Winter doesn’t have to be all about blizzards and icicles. The best gardens result from lots of winter planning. But remember, winter gardening is much more complex than gardening in the late spring and into summer. If your winter garden plan isn’t successful, it’s okay! Take careful notes and try something new. Don’t get discouraged. Before you know it, it will be time to sow spring seeds again!