ornamental kale

Can You Do Gardening in Winter?

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Pansies

Yes, you absolutely can.  You may be saying to yourself, “Well, it’s already February.  Winter is halfway over.  What can I really plant?”

There are actually quite a few things that should be planted in winter, specifically, in February.  In addition to that, there are other “gardening” things that need to be completed such as planning, pruning, fertilizing, and soil stuff.

 

Planting

By seed, you’ll want to plant onions, potatoes, and asparagus.

By transplant, you should be planting cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and broccoli.  If you’re looking to add color, try transplanting or potting some winter annuals.

sweet alyssum
Sweet Alyssum

Here is a list of great winter annuals:

  • Pansies
  • Snapdragons
  • Sweet Alyssums
  • Ornamental cabbage & kale

All of those are popular and cold-hardy winter plants.

February is also the time to start growing peppers and eggplants indoors.  Move their pots outdoors after the last freeze.

This is also an optimal time of year to plant trees, berries, and grapes.

Check out this article titled, “Cold Hardy Plants that Look Tropical,” for even more winter planting ideas.

Planning

Get online and find your Plant Hardiness Zone.  Do research about what will grow well in your area.

Go outside, take a look at your garden now.  Start diagramming and planning the changes you want to make for spring.

If there are any seeds that you will need when the weather warms up, order those now.

pruning shear
Pruning Shears

Pruning

Pruning is next on the list.  February is an ideal time to prune summer flowering shrubs.  Remove the branches that are dead or dying.  Try to stick to the plant’s natural shape.

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Roses should also be cut back sometime this month up until early March.  Sharpen your shears first and make clean cuts.  Clear away any dead, dying, or fragile branches.  This should end up being about 1/2 of the top growth.

Crape myrtles and February should also be pruned during this time of year.

Fertilizer

Most of your plants and flowers do not need fertilizer in winter because they have died off or gone dormant.  Although, if you have any winter annuals potted or planted, continue to fertilize them as you already have been doing.

Wait to fertilize any newly planted trees and shrubs.  They need time to establish strong roots so that the fertilizer can be fully absorbed.

Soil

man tilling soil
Man tilling soil

The quality of your soil is critical for the success of your garden.  During the winter months, the soil will get wet from winter weather.  Wet soil will become compacted and dense.

Compacted soil leads to poor root penetration.  It is difficult for newly planted plants to grow strong, healthy roots in compacted soil.

Test your soil first.  Roll it into a ball and drop it on the ground.  If it breaks apart, your soil is good.  If it does not crumble, it is time to till the soil.

For a large area, use a tiller machine.  For a small area, you can use a fork or a deep spader.  Add a layer of mulch on top to stop any spring weed growth.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are numerous gardening chores that should be done during the winter season.  As well as a diverse variety of winter flowers that can be planted too.

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Get out your sketchbook and favorite gardening magazine.  Start designing your spring garden today.  Be adventurous.  Order some seeds that you haven’t experimented with before.

 

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