Text by Hannah Jones
You might imagine that winter would be the time when gardeners can take a break, but this simply couldn’t be further from the truth! Winter is the ideal time to prep for the busy spring and summer seasons ahead. From seed starting to plot planning to cleaning up flower beds, the to-do list for the winter gardener is full, but these easy tasks are sure to make the upcoming seasons a breeze.
Clean Your Tools
This crucial step serves a double purpose: cleaning your tools and potting shed, if you have one, is necessary to start the growing season off on a clean slate, but this process also allows you to assess your needs for the upcoming season. Do your gloves need to be patched in certain spots? Does your rake need to be replaced? Knowing this before getting ready to plant makes the growing season that much easier!
Start Your Seeds
Your garden might still be frozen over, but that shouldn’t stop you from growing! The perfect time to start your seeds is winter, so they’re ready for planting by spring—meaning you can enjoy their beauty and bounty almost immediately. Herbs are extremely simple to start indoors and ideal for the seed-starting newcomers. Don’t worry about purchasing a seed-starting kit if you don’t want to—a simple egg carton should do the trick.
Clean Out Beds
Dead leaves, weeds, and so much more can settle in your garden beds over the winter, not only leaving an unsightly appearance but also draining the fresh new soil of nutrients. Clean out those beds completely to prepare them for new plants and fresh soil.
Prep the Soil
After the soil has been drained of nutrients during the last season and throughout the winter, it’s crucial to replenish it before planting. Layer a few inches of new soil on top of the existing bed, and if you’d like, enrich it with compost, manure, sawdust, or other organic material to add nutrients.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Planning is the most necessary but most often skipped step of gardening. All of those stunning gardens you see on Instagram and in magazines have one thing in common: planning. Section your yard into plots and assess each for how much sun the spot receives, for instance. From there, choose a variety of plants suitable for each plot. We recommend selecting a variety of border perennials and flowering plants for inside each bed to give your garden a sense of structure. Pro tip: within each plot, pick plants that blossom at different times throughout the year, so your garden is constantly in bloom!