Feb 2, 2018

Our Top 5 Winter Gardening Ideas

Many people leave the garden completely alone in the winter. Especially up north that’s just fine, because it is covered in snow! Down here in Florida, winter can be another productive and pleasant growing season, albeit a bit colder. It can also be a time to get ready for spring planting.

What can we do in the Winter? Here are a few ideas:

1. Grow Winter Crops

‌Believe it or not, there are some great garden crops that prefer cooler weather. Some of your favorite plants can barely survive the July heat anyways, so why not grow it in the winter? Many veggies will tolerate the mild freezes we get pretty well. While you might get some superficial leaf damage the plants will usually survive and continue producing when they warm up again.

Some great winter crops are:

  • Lettuce
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Parsnips
  • Onions
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Celery
  • Greens, like turnip, mustard, collards
  • Celeriac
  • Rutabaga
  • Strawberries
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Cauliflower
  • Potatoes
  • Leeks
  • Chard
  • Broccoli and broccoli raab

For tips on helping your garden recover from a freeze,
check out this article. For more information on what to plant, when – come into the store and pick up our Shell’s Feed & Garden Supply Garden Guides. It’s a great tool for knowing what to do and when!

2. Clean, Repair, & Replace Garden Tools

‌During the winter, your urgent garden tasks slow down a bit. It’s a great time to take stock of your tools and supplies and ensure that everything you need is clean and in good working order.

A solution of 10% bleach and water is a perfect all-purpose cleaner for tools and pots alike, and a drop of detergent goes miles to foam dirt out of textured surfaces and cracks. A bristly scrub brush is a perfect sidekick to loosen up dry dirt before washing.

Wash your gardening gloves and look for holes, and oil up mechanisms for clippers and moving parts to have all of your equipment ready for the spring when it arrives.

If there is a tool you are missing or one that you have been eyeballing for a while, shop around a bit and see if you can find what you like for a price you want to pay. Depending on your priorities you may prefer online shopping for deals, or going to a store to get a sense of what you’re buying. Coming into our store can help you determine if you like the weight and feel of the tool before purchasing – and pick up some great knowledge from our staff on the way.

3. Build New Structures

‌In my opinion, there is nothing worse than trying to build something large for the garden when it is 99 degrees outside with 100% humidity. Take advantage of the cool weather and build those garden structures now during the winter weekends. Want a new raised bed? Put it together and place it where it’s going to go, with the soil and compost too. Water deep, then cover it with black plastic so weeds don’t grow, and so the soil stays warm from the decomposition of the composted organic materials.

How about a pole bean tower or teepee? A greenhouse? A compost bin made from old pallets and chicken wire? A new trellis system for cucumbers and peas? Install hoops over your raspberries/blackberries to attach bird netting on to keep birds and squirrels out. Repair your fence around the garden to keep the dogs out. There’s so much that can be done, I can’t even list all the possibilities! Don’t get overwhelmed. Pick a priority project and pick a weekend to dedicate to it.

4. Plan Your Spring Planting‌

Spring will be here before you know it. I pass the coldest days of the year dreaming up the next season’s spring garden – complete with fresh-picked organic tomatoes and squash to be planted. When I’m planning up my spring garden I like to draw it out on graph paper and make my wish list for what I want to be growing in the spring. Next comes the balancing act of trying to make it all fit – do you need another bed or more containers? Or do some of the items on my list not make the cut?

Planning lets you optimistically dream up the next season during the cold and miserable days of winter. It also means accounting for all the supplies your grand plans for spring will need. Don’t forget the starter pots, soil, fertilizer, perlite, and transplant pots!

5. Chicken Projects

‌Do the chicken projects ever end? Not really. But it’s a labor of love. Are you thinking of expanding your flock? You might need to add on to the coop or add another coop altogether. Speaking of coops, did you know Shell’s Feed has coops that are already put together for you? Just place and play! Maybe it’s just time for a good coop scrub, repair, and re-paint. Whatever you decide to do, Winter is a good time to get those labor-intensive projects done for your fluffy-butts. It’s all so that you can play with them more when it’s warm!

I am quite sure you can find more to do in the garden than this. But if you were looking for suggestions, these are what I’ll be working on during the winter. What are you going to get up to? Tell us in the comments below. Thanks, Marissa

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