Now is the time to start getting ready for… gardening.
You might not believe it but February is the perfect time to start thinking about gardening. Even though it is the coldest month of the year, there is still lots to do to get ready for the planting and growing season. Starting now will get you in a good place so that in a couple of months when the ground thaws you will be ready to plant your bounty.
Winter Gardening Tips
Snow and Ice on Trees and Shrubs
During the winter, the threat of snow and ice is always near. When ice accumulates on branches it is best to let it melt naturally. If they are covered with snow gently brush the snow off. Do not shake the tree limbs as this might cause cracking of the branches. If a limb does break, it is best to remove it as soon as weather allows. This will keep damage to the tree to a minimum.
Watering is very important during the winter months. Watering right before a predicted freeze helps the plants. It will help potted plants and annuals make it through a hard freeze. It allows plants to take up moisture before the ground is frozen. You need to be sure to water the above-ground shoots as well as the roots.
Clean and repair your garden tools. If you paint the handles of garden tools (rake, shovel, hoe, etc.) paint them red or orange. Painting them a bright color will make it easier to locate the tool this spring and summer when you lay them down on the lawn or in the garden. It also helps to preserve the wood and extends the life of the tools. Make an appointment to take in your lawn mower, weed whacker, and edger for a service during the off season (it is usually cheaper and less busy). Take inventory of your tools. Check out your tools all over for rust, dents, and breaks. Make a list of the tools that are fine, and what tools need to be replaced.
After the soil freezes apply a 3-4″ inch layer of mulch to your garden. This keeps the soil cold, rather than protecting the soil from becoming cold. This will help keep the roots from a constant freeze/thaw, freeze/thaw, which in turn helps against continual freezing and thawing.
Seed and bulb orders
After you decide upon what you want to put in your garden this year you need to be sure and order your seeds and bulbs by the end of January. You can order from a catalog, your local greenhouse, or online. By getting your order in early it will help insure that you get the seeds that you want and that you have them in time to plant them in early spring.
Hopefully these tips will help get you excited about starting or continuing on your garden during the winter!