Planning Your Winter Garden
by Lee Wyatt
(last updated September 11, 2012)
Planning your winter garden is much like planting your spring, summer, or fall gardens. You need to follow a few simple steps, and do a bit of thinking and you will be well on your way to getting the winter garden completely ready to go. By the time that you have finished reading these steps you will know the basic outline of what you need to do in order to get your winter garden off the ground.
- Know the weather. Take the time and opportunity to learn what the average weather patterns are in your area. This will let you know when the ideal time to begin planting your winter garden is. In fact, on the average, you will want to specifically know when the earliest killer frost is, so that you have the time to plant, and allow your plants to grow to full maturity before they could end up dying.
- Ensure proper drainage. Drainage is an important issue no matter what the season is. This means that you will need to use an area that has good drainage, improve the drainage of the area that you want to use, or even use a raised bed garden. Furthermore, for most winter gardens you will want to (if at all possible) use southern facing, sloped area that will also help protect the garden from the wind.
- Don't wait too long. Never wait too long before you start to work on your soil, and begin preparing the soil for your garden. If you wait to long, then you will not have enough time to allow the plants to fully grow. In addition, you can also be surprised by a surprise cold snap.
- Prepare the soil. When you do begin working on the soil, make sure that you turn the soil down to a minimum depth of six inches, and that you are using a spade, shovel, or rototiller to get the soil nice and loose. In addition to that, make sure that you are also adding some fertilizer, compost, or alfalfa meal to replenish the nutrients that may have been depleted over the precious seasons.
- Choose the right plants. The importance of choosing the right plants for your winter garden cannot be overstated. As you can probably imagine, not all plants will grow in the colder weather of late autumn and early winter. This means that you will need to do a bit of research about the various plants that like the colder climates, and what type of care they will require. Do not plant any plants until you know what type of care they will require, no matter what season it is.
- Consider accessories. Never overlook the ability and power that comes from using the right kind of accessories. For example, if you can use a windbreak you really should since it will help keep the temperature for your plants a bit warmer by removing the wind chill that often comes from the blowing wind during the winter (usually around 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit). Another option is to use a portable greenhouse to help keep your garden warmer, or even to use mulch around the appropriate plants.