Winter gardening tasks
Cool weather gardening
On behalf of, and with our thanks to Emma Croft
How to Take Your Cool-Weather Gardening to the Next Level
Image via Pixabay
Just because the weather is cooling down doesn't mean you have to call it quits on your gardening hobby for the year. You can still put your green thumb to use during the fall and winter seasons. From daffodils to crocuses, many flowers will still bloom when it's chilly out. However, you might not be keen to freeze your fingers off outside to take care of them! The solution: Turn your garage into the ultimate gardening oasis. Find out how you can do it and take your gardening to the next level when the temperatures drop with these affordable and easy-to-implement tips.
Get supplies for an indoor grow area
Head to a home and garden store to get all the supplies you need to create a comfortable gardening space in your garage. You'll want pots and planters as well as bags of dirt to put inside them. If you’re going to maintain a vertical garden, you can get creative with the gardening containers and use recycled bottles or crates. Plants that grow in vertical gardens also benefit from a drip irrigation system and good exposure to light sources, even if the plants are low-maintenance. Full-spectrum bulbs or "grow lights" provide the replacement for sunshine that greenery needs (since your garage likely doesn't have many windows, if any). Don’t forget to outfit yourself with a trowel and gardening gloves. Gardening pads are also advisable since the concrete floor of a garage is harder on the knees than soil.
Find ways to heat the space
You probably don't have any heating in your garage. If it's attached to your house, some heat may seep over—but the temperature may still be quite frigid, especially in winter. You can create your own heat supply using a space heater or solar lamps. You want to keep the temperature above freezing for your own comfort—and to keep more sensitive plants from withering away. You can also prevent freezing by adding insulation to the garage. Fiberglass, cellulose, and spray foam are all popular insulators.
Mulch with compost
A layer of mulch over the top of the soil helps regulate the temperature and also keeps moisture in, ensuring that thirsty plant roots get the water they need. Instead of wood chips or pine needles, use compost to mulch when it's cool out. Decomposing compost creates heat and can also help make up for the chillier temperatures. You can make your own compost bin at home using a plastic bin, power drill, potting soil, and worms.
Choose your plants wisely
Even if you take such measures to keep your plants toasty, it won’t be possible to maintain hot temperatures in your garage 24/7. Be smart when deciding what to grow. Skip palm trees, orchids, and similar tropical plants. Instead, opt for succulents, African violets, or mums—to name but a few cold-hardy plants. Assuming they survive the winter, you may even be able to replant some of them outside in your garden once spring arrives.
What if you don’t have a garage?
If you don't have a garage, cool-weather gardening is still possible. You just need enough space for a small structure, and you can build your own garden shed. While metal sheds are more durable, many people prefer wood for aesthetic reasons. However, wood structures can require more upkeep due to possible termite infestations. Think about your preferences and budget before choosing the materials, and research a reputable manufacturer.
Follow these tips, and invest the time and energy needed to accommodate cool-weather gardening. It will be well worth it. Gardening has been proven to promote good health; it's actually been shown to decrease dementia risk and also can boost your mood. By following these guidelines and taking your cool-weather gardening to the next level, you can make the most of these benefits all year round.
and as winter turns to spring, a poem to reflect on the changing seasons .......
Down on the Allotment
It’s February on the allotment
Puddles of water, a zen of tranquillity,
Nobody in sight, no distant voices
Just swooping birds with beating wings
Silence is all around
Ruler straight lines of leeks and kale
Wilted beetroot leaves with speckled spots
Thin and loose branches of blackberry bushes
Blueberry pots with soggy, smudgy leaves
Silence is all around
Spike of garlic leaves emerging
Teasel sprouting in the wildflower box
Daffodils in a crowd budding very slowly
Borage covered in silver grey veins
Silence is all around
Thoughts are seeds waiting to be planted
Sculpting the mind, with the scent of geosmin
Digging fork, dibber and wellie boots await
Spring is coming, allotmenteers arrive
Silence is breaking
By Angie Mac, Lincolnshire