Winter is a lovely season to rest and spend free time flipping through the seed catalogs, earmarking way too many varieties, and doing a bit of dreaming and garden planning. We spend these months looking forward to spring when we can get out in the garden again. Unfortunately, spring can be both a fun and overwhelming time. There’s so much to do! Here are five garden projects you can complete this winter to get ahead for spring.
Start or Maintain a Compost
Compost is one of the best garden amendments. It adds nutrients, builds soil structure, and improves drainage. Composting is also a great way to reduce your household waste and you can start a compost pile any time of year. Visit Black Gold: Making Compost for a beginners guide or Winter Composting for more seasonal advice.
Build Season Extenders
You don’t have to build an enormous greenhouse or a desire to grow food year round to create and use season extenders. Simple cold frames can help you start and harden off seedlings earlier. Low tunnels allow you to harvest cold hardy greens and brassicas earlier in the spring and protect them from summer heat and insects as the season continues.
Create your own cold frames this winter with simple materials like straw bales, wood, and old windows. You can also gather supplies for low-tunnels. You can purchase low tunnel supplies from many garden suppliers or you can diy your own with materials like PVC, tulle, and plastic.
Maintain and Repair Tools
Don’t wait until you need them next spring to get your tools in order. Winter is a great time to sharpen blades, replace broken handles and in the case of power equipment, gather supplies for spring oil changes and other needed maintenance.
One of the cardinal rules of sustainable gardening is to never leave bare soil. Bare soil creates opportunity for erosion and is poor habitat for beneficial insects, fungi, and organisms. Take advantage of any warm days this winter to cover bare spots in your garden. Old leaves work great for this!
On the days where the weather is truly to bad to be out, you can continue your gardening education. We’re never done learning! Read some seed saving books, listen to your favorite garden podcasts, or settle down with a show and some popcorn.
The growing season is often too busy tackle all the projects we’d like. Get ahead this season with these five winter garden projects.