A winter gardening is not merely a great addition to home; it also provides many benefits. There are those who believe that gardening must cease once the first frost hits, but that’s not true. The gardeners can enjoy the sensations of gardening year round by several ways and continue growing plants, vegetables, herbs, and fruit during the winter months.
“January is the quietest month in the garden. But just because it looks quiet doesn’t mean that nothing is happening. The soil open to the sky, absorb the pure rainfall while microorganisms convert tilled-under fodder into usable nutrients for the next crop of plants. The feasting earth worms tunnel along, aerating the soil and preparing it to welcome the seeds and bare roots to come.” –Rosalie Muller Wright
Benefits of Winter Gardening
- Winter gardening adds beauty and fragrance to the season. It is cost effective as those who grow herbs and vegetables at home can save on grocery store prices. During the winter months, the prices of herbs, fruits and vegetables tend to increase. One can save money by growing own produce.
- Another benefit of winter gardening is the added exercise. During winter most people tend to stay indoors longer than they do during summer. Winter gardening is a marvelous activity to get outside and be energetic.
Additional Benefits of Winter Gardening
Additional benefits of winter gardening have to do with the produce. Those who harvest healthy fruits and vegetables during the winter months often eat more greens than those purchase them from stores. The nutrient rich fruits and vegetables during the winter months helps to protect against illness, improve the immunity, and keep the body running at optimum level.
Tips for winter gardening
1- Climate Consideration
Before working on any winter gardening project, better to know the approximate depth of the frost line and date of first expected killing frost for your region.
Mulch not only block weeds and make garden look nice. It also helps to keep the soil warm and moist. A healthy layer of mulch can go a long way toward protecting roots and bulbs from encroaching frost. The fall and winter tend to be very dry seasons compared to spring and summer. Bare, unprotected soil loses water much faster during the cold months than it does when the weather is warm. Also, a thick blanket of mulch offers better protection for beneficial wildlife that may be over-wintering beneath the soil in garden.
3- Cool Season Veggies
Attempt to grow summer crops such as peppers, tomatoes and melons in winter in useless. Select those plants, fruits and vegetables which are cold-tolerant and grow well during the temperature fluctuations. Winter gardening crops includes beets, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, onion, carrots, parsnip, Radish, kale, leeks, chards, salad greens, lettuce and spinach etc.
4- Winter Weed Control
The coldest months of the year can be the perfect time to start eliminating weeds from garden and flower beds. As soon as weed sprouts appear, pull them up.
5- Prepare Raised Beds
The water in the soil could freeze and damage delicate roots, therefore a winter garden must be well drained. The best way to insure good drainage is to plant winter crops in raised beds. It should also keep in mind that when a good amount of organic matter is used, the soil will hold enough moisture for the plants and any excess water will drain off.
6- Start seeds indoors
Starting seeds indoors has a lot of advantages. Starting from seed is cheaper than buying seedlings. Use of uncontaminated soil, make the seedlings stronger and healthier than factory raised specimens. Another advantage is that seeds can be saved over the years, and one-of-a-kind varieties can be created.
7- Build Greenhouses
Greenhouses provide a frost-free environment to crops throughout the year. There are several greenhouse designs that can find in the market. The best models for raising seedlings for most rooted and delicious leafy vegetables are the unheated ones. However, heated greenhouses that is suitable for growing tropical plants. You can use such greenhouses for the commercial production of crops during the winter season.
This work will keeps you busy through the cold weather months and spring will be knocking at your door before you know it.