35 Things You Can Do in Your Garden This Winter

  • Sumo

Me and some of my gardening friends were recently talking about winter gardening and what we were all planning on doing between now and spring. I guess we were all going through some gardening withdrawal! And, what with spring being just around the corner, we’re all pretty excited to get some things done. Maybe you feel the same way.

Here’s what we came up with. I just compiled everybody’s ideas into a list with minimal editing. Some of these are things to improve the yard now and some are to get ready for spring.

They may not all apply to you, but hopefully they’ll give you some ideas anyway. If you have other suggestions that aren’t on this list feel free to add them in the comments.

Clean/Repair

  • Checking the condition of my hand and power tools. replace broken or cracked handles.
  • Tune up tractor, rototiller, lawn mower, edger, trimmer etc. as needed. Sharpen dull tools such as clippers.

 Plan

  • Take a good hard look at the landscape. How many shrubs in the landscape have really and truly out grown their usefulness? Make a list of the ones that deserve to be cut back to see how they look. Make a list of the ones that really, really need to go.
  • Draw up a potential layout for new plant beds and areas so I will know where the new stuff is going before I even but it. Have a plan and then work the plan.
  • The main thing in my way of looking at my garden is to try a new plant every year. I have been here 29 years and have planted something new just about every year
  • Another thing to remember is do not plant tomatoes in the same place each year. Move them around to a different site. It keeps them from getting nematodes.
  • Go visit Scott’s site (getplants4less.com), often.

 Prepare

  • Clean house and stuff freezer because in a few weeks it will be growing season indoors and I won’t come up for air for a few months. (I’m happiest with potmix in my hairpart and compost in my shoes….)
  • Cut up old hoarded narrow slat window blinds for my plant markers.
  • Send off my soil tests
  • When my soil test results come back, get my amendments ordered (I will need gypsum, my soil always needs gypsum)…
  • Prep for trims and sticking a new crop of twigs. Aquariums and recycled soda bottle ‘cloches’ cleaned and refurbished.
  • Start punching all my recycle pots (plastic and styrofoam used and rinsed cups, washed out yogurt cups, etc) and getting them ready.

 Shop

  • Buy worms if you don’t already have a bed of them. They are like a dream come true to the soil.
  • I think I deserve a new sunhat and muckboots, lets’ go shopping for that.
  • Order supplies so everything is on-hand before the weather breaks and the warehouses get swamped with calls for product.
  • Order a pallet of my favorite potting mix so it gets here when my flats have to be up-potted.
  • Order mulch and pots/bags so I am ready to start potting up all those rooted cuttings when the weather breaks.
  • Order some more of that sweat proof sunblock that works so well, I went through a batch of it last year (as I sit here typing this with the backs of my knees got ‘pinked’ today)

 Yardwork

  • Promise yourself to do a little gardening each day. It will keep the doctor away!
  • Put those coffee grounds out in the compost heap, also egg shells and any other thing from the kitchen that doesn’t have oil or meat in it.
  • Check the overwinter beds and see how last year’s twigs are doing, and with several days in the 60′s, check moisture.
  • Remove the tops from the perennials, Hosta, Daylilly etc.
  • Dig lilies that have become crowded if y’all want to see more and more of them. They will thank you for it.
  • I also separate my hosta just as they leaf out.
  • Shrubs that deserve a second chance can be cut back really hard. Take a chance. You might be surprised 6 months from now.
  • If your Azaleas are getting too tall or misshaped, don’t think you can’t cut them to the ground because you can. It will take a couple of years for them to come back to a nice height but they will. I didn’t cut mine to the ground after they bloomed but I did cut them back to about a foot and they did great.
  • Get all of the remaining leaves out of my beds.
  • Weed, weed and weed some more.
  • If y’all don’t like using commercial fertilizer, just buy composted manure and put some in a 5 gallon bucket and add water to put around your plants.
  • Oh and don’t forget to spray the Japanese Maples before they start to leaf out. I lost two because I failed to. Beetles got to them.
  • Put down compost
  • Trim any trees that need trimming while they are still dormant. Dormant pruning is the least stressful kind of pruning you can do.
  • Turn compost pile
  • If it’s been (relatively) warm and dry for a few days, you may need to water.
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2 Responses to 35 Things You Can Do in Your Garden This Winter

  1. Teresa Weydert says:

    Scott,
    Under your 35 things to do you mention: Get all of the remaining leaves out of my beds
    Isn’t it good to leave the leaves where they fall? I thought they help keep weeds down and turn into compost?
    Also, I e-mailed you a while ago asking about native plants and native berry plants. You mentioned you don’t have them. Are you going to get some this year? Or do you have a source? I want to make my yard more sustainable. Plus I love berries of all kinds. I already have blue berries but would like to try some other types.

    Thanks,
    Teresa

    • Scott says:

      Hi Teresa,
      With the leaves, it depends on what you’re going for. Leaves don’t decompose very well, especially when they are large, like maple leaves. A big mass of big leaves will stick together and keep out water and sunlight, which can help to choke out the weeds. But they won’t break down very quickly. They also are a favorite hideout for pests, such as rodents and bugs. If the leaves are small they’re probably OK. I prefer to rake up mine, chop them up with the lawn mower and mix them into the compost pile.

      I do have some native plants. I’ll have to get back to you on exactly what they are. I will also have a few kinds of blueberries and I plan to have some strawberry plants and a few tomato plants this year.
      Scott

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