A Garden In The Winter? Yes!

Spring may seem a long way off. After all, it’s not even officially winter yet. Although in some areas of the country it sure feels that way.

But spring will be here in a little over three months. And a few steps you take now could go a long way to making your spring garden flourish.

On the other hand, if you wait until spring to take those steps? You could end up missing out on weeks’ worth of harvest.

You may be thinking, “OK, Frank. I understand the logic of planting some crops indoors in February and then replanting them outside after the last frost. But what could I do in December to benefit my spring garden? Especially if I live in a cold climate?" Glad you asked.

Put on your thinking cap 

There may not be a whole lot of gardening you can do this late in the year. Unless you’re keeping an eye on crops you planted earlier in the fall. 

But there are a number of things you can do indoors over the next couple of months to enhance what will be your spring garden.

Among them are thinking about what has worked well and what hasn’t in the past. Including the methods you’ve tried. And the particular plants you’ve seeded, nurtured, harvested, and eaten.

Two other activities you can engage in now that will benefit you later are planning and buying. Decide what you want to plant – as well as when and how – and purchase items you’ll need for that. Many of those items will be less expensive now than next spring.

Learn from the past

Try to recall which varieties of plants you placed in your garden in the spring. As well as which ones did well and which didn’t.

Learn from mistakes. Such as transplanting too soon or too late. Or planting seeds too deeply or not deeply enough.

Or planting the seeds of different plants too close together. Or not properly utilizing the garden space you have. Or watering too often or not often enough.

Depending on how long you’ve been gardening, you may not have achieved the perfect garden yet. Few of us do. The key is learning along the way. And recording successes and failures helps your recall the next time around.

Read, write, & wait

Even if you were 100% satisfied with your garden, there is always something that can be improved. And if you weren’t fully satisfied, there are definitely things to learn.

What better time than the coldest months of the year than to curl up with some great gardening books and magazines? Plus seed catalogs. You can also watch gardening videos.

Jot down notes while you’re reading and viewing. I’m willing to bet you’ll learn some things you’ll be able to incorporate into your garden come spring.

Make a list of the plants you want to grow in your garden. Maybe you’ll decide to choose one or two you’ve never tried before.

Make a map of your proposed garden layout. Including which plants will go in which rows. Create a planting schedule for indoors and out so you won’t miss a crucial date. 

Buy now; thank yourself later 

Now it’s time to take your debit card out of your wallet. This is a great time to purchase the seeds you’ll want to use in your spring garden.

It’s also a good time to step into your garage and take inventory of your gardening tools and accessories. 

Maybe it’s time to replace a shovel, hoe, or rake. Or a spade, cutter, trowel, or pruning shears. Not to mention a Ph soil tester, watering can, tote bag, gloves, and knee pads. 

You can also stock up on potting soil and seed trays. Plus small planting pots, peat pots, and tubes for irrigation.  

Planning in advance for your spring gardening fits in well with your overall preparedness strategy. And it will put you one step ahead of those who don’t prepare.


  • Mike Peters - December 14, 2023

    Great thoughts!! I stopped by my garden center where I buy my seed and plants each Spring last week. With all that’s going on in the world I wanted to get seed “just in case”. I was fortunate to get lettuce, cabbage, cucumber and tomato seeds. They were gathering all their seed they had from last season to donate to missions. I got several ounces of each. When I got home, I put them with my other seeds which I have in a seed bank, then ordered the bogo seeds from 4P. You have to prepare. My seed catalogs are arriving also. Remember heirlooms are best.

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