Even though the thermometer and a few flakes of snow might be falling outdoors, it doesn’t mean you can’t tackle a few simple garden chores indoors this winter to help set the stage for a successful growing season next year.
Although garden season may seem a long way off, it isn’t. In fact, depending on where you live, in as little as a few months, it will already be time for starting seeds indoors. And before you know it, it will be time for planting those seedlings outdoors!
Unfortunately, for many gardeners, the growing season arrives every spring far too quickly. One minute, the snow is still falling and it seems like you have plenty of time. Time for planning what you want to grow and where. Time for ordering seeds and supplies. And even enough time to finally start and grow your own plants from seed indoors.
But as is so often the case, all of that “time” disappears faster than you can ever imagine. Winter turns to early spring, and the growing season arrives in full force. Unfortunately, instead of implementing all of those great plans you were dreaming of doing for “next year’s garden” – you find yourself racing to just find seeds and plants and get them in the ground.
Getting Ahead Of The Garden Season
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Not in the least! In fact, by simply taking time to prepare a little this winter, you can and will set the stage for your best garden season ever next year. And best of all, you don’t have to even go out in the cold for these chores!
With that in mind, here are 5 simple things you can do this winter to help prepare next year’s garden for success.
5 Winter Garden Chores To Prepare For Your Best Garden Ever Next Year
#1) Create Your Garden Plan Now
The biggest mistake a gardener can make is to head into their gardening season without a plan. Without a plan, it is impossible to know what seeds to order, or which are needed early to start indoors.
Whatever you do, don’t wait until spring to plan out your garden. Take time while it is nice and cozy inside to write out what you want to plant and where you want to plant it.
Planning now helps you find the time to implement good planting habits such as crop rotation and companion planting. It also gives you a heads up for knowing what seeds you will need to order for the coming season. With recent shortages in supplies, that can be a huge plus to get your order in early!
#2) Create A Garden Timeline – Winter Garden Chores
Now that you have a plan, it is time to create a timeline for your entire growing season. A timeline doesn’t have to be complicated or lengthy – but is it ever helpful to keep your growing goals on track! In fact, it is just as important as your garden plan when it comes to creating a healthy, productive garden.
Using your garden plan as a guide, jot down what you will be growing and when it needs to go in the ground. When you are finished, list out each task in the order it will occur.
When doing this, be sure to make a note for any crops you might plant more than once. Beans, radishes, lettuce and many other greens can be succession planted throughout the year for a bigger harvest. Now is the time to plan for when you want to plant each crop to keep a fresh supply on hand.
If you are growing your own tomato plants, list out when you will need to start your seeds indoors. Likewise, include an approximate date when you will want to plant them outdoors as transplants. Continue on with all of the crops you intend to grow, and when you will plant each.
Why A Garden Timeline Works – Winter Garden Chores
Trust me when I say this little task is a HUGE help when it comes to keeping you on track for planting. No more forgetting to put lettuce in early. No more forgetting to sow that second row of beans in the summer.
One thing is for sure, when we first implemented our own growing timeline for each garden season, it made gardening so much easier. Not only that, it helped us grow more than ever before!
#3) Start Saving Coffee Grounds – Winter Garden Chores
This chore is one of the easiest winter chores of all, but does it every pay off! Coffee grounds are incredible for helping to power young seedlings, potting soil, vegetable plants, flowers and more.
Spent grounds are filled with nutrients, and help to add structure and organic matter to garden soil. We use them in every single planting hole in our vegetable garden. In addition, we include them in our seed starting soil and potting soil too.
But too many gardeners wait until right before garden season to start collecting them. Start collecting now to make sure you will have more than enough on hand for your entire growing season.
And if you struggle with keeping your saved grounds from molding, be sure to check out this article on our sister site : How To Save Your Coffee Grounds Over The Winter – Without Molding! It will have you saving coffee grounds with ease, and your garden will thank you!
#4) Start Saving Egg Shells – Winter Garden Chores
Just like coffee grounds, egg shells are a huge help to vegetable plants. Especially when it comes to growing tomatoes and peppers. For this an so many more reasons, it is important to save as many as you can for your garden through the winter months.
Both tomatoes and pepper plants can suffer from blossom end rot. This is a direct result of not having enough calcium in the soil to help produce viable fruit. And you guessed it – crushed egg shells can help add that calcium!
But it doesn’t stop there. Egg shells can also help deter pests, and add additional nutrients to the soil for a wide range of plants. For more great information on egg shells and tomatoes, see: Planting Egg Shells With Tomatoes
5) Don’t Forget About Your Compost Pile! – Winter Garden Chores
Finally (and this one might get you a little cold), don’t forget about your compost pile in the winter. Although it may get snow covered or even frozen at times, be sure to turn it every chance you get through the winter months.
As temperatures allow, head out to the pile and mix the ingredients. Yes, there will be times it may freeze solid. But when it warms, add any additional materials you may have been saving (kitchen scraps, etc.) and turn your pile.
With every turn through the winter months, you help to speed up decomposition. And nothing beats having more compost on hand for growing big, healthy vegetables! Here is to getting ready this winter for an incredible growing season next year. Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary
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