It’s mid-January in the Midwest. As usual, the weather can’t make up it’s mind between rain, snow, and bitter cold, gardens are lying dormant and (mostly) brown, and home gardeners everywhere are starting to go stir crazy. With holidays over, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that our favorite hobby is on hiatus for a few more months – sigh. We’re a landscape company, but we get the winter blues too.
So we asked our staff, neighbors and fellow gardeners – how do you kick the blues? Here’s what we came up with!
1. Finally read all of the gardening books, magazines, and blogs you were too busy to do more than glance at all summer!
2. Check out the seed and flower catalogs that are starting to show up in the mail box, and be inspired! Top tip from our friends: Make a list of all the plant’s you’d love to add to your garden or landscape – then cross off all the ones that won’t grow in your zone.
3. Think. Analyze. Plan. The quiet of winter is a perfect time to sit down and plan out next year’s garden or landscape. Start by asking yourself basic questions: what worked? What didn’t work? Any bare spots that could use filling in? Find yourself wishing you’d planted a few more pepper plants last year? Top tip: Get organized by sketching our your garden and planning your layout for next year. This is a great way to estimate the number of plants you need fairly accurately and prevent over shopping. Added bonus? Keeping yearly sketches will allow you to look back and see how your garden has changed over time!
4. Clean and sharpen your tools. While hanging out in a cold garage may not be fun, basic maintenance is important for prolonging the life of all tools. Additionally, sharp tools make clean cuts which are easier for plants to heal after pruning. Top tip: If your blades are mashing or crushing stems when cutting, it’s time to sharpen!
5. Swing by your local Plant Nursery or Tree Farm. January and February are a great time to scope out landscape plants to see what they look like in winter. It’s also a good time to chat with the staff about different plants or products you have questions about – no rush and no crowd means ample time for one on one discussion.
6. Prune back summer and fall blooming perennials if you haven’t already. Removing the above ground dead material makes room for new growth in spring, and reduces the risk of disease and pests that tend to develop on decaying plant matter. Top tip: Be careful not to cut plants back too hard – many garden plants have roots growing near the surface of the soil that may be easily damaged.
7. Start gathering materials for Spring, like poles, string, mulch, or new garden tools. It’s a lot easier to find materials at reasonable prices during the off season, and it enables you to start gardening as soon the weather permits.
8. Take a couple gardening classes at your local botanical garden. It’s a great way to find information specific to your growing area from a knowledgeable source, as well as make connections with other gardeners in your area. One of our staff recently took a class on growing citrus plants at home for fun, and came back with several orange tree seedlings!
9. Start seeds indoors. Whether it’s an indoor herb garden, seed pots for the vegetable garden, or annuals for the landscape, having green things growing inside always brightens up a dreary winter day! Top tip: Feeling thrifty? Check out Pinterest for a variety of eco-friendly ways to start seed pots indoors at little to no cost!
What do you do to kick the winter blues?