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Winter Garden Projects

So many gardeners I know (including myself) get G.B. — or the Gardening Blues — this time of the year. While most of our outdoor gardening projects are pretty much on hold until spring, there is so much to do to keep us occupied and drive those winter blues away.

Who doesn’t like Seed Catalog Season? We all know the absolute joy of that first seed catalog arriving in our mailbox. While online ordering is certainly popular, too — there’s just nothing quite like putting our hands on those delightful magazines! We dog-ear the pages, highlight, circle items and make notes in the margins of those brightly-colored publications. Consider your goals for next spring as you peruse the pages. What did you love about your 2022 garden? What did you dislike? What would you like to add next year? Perhaps you want a pollinator garden or a bigger space for those pollinator plants. Now is the time to do the research and decide how you want it to look and what cultivars to choose. Do you have a preferred color scheme? Do you want a space that is somewhat orderly, or do you prefer a wilder native habitat? (Think about what your potential visitors will be most attracted to, as well!)

While we all enjoy the shopping and dreaming part of “all things seeds,” most of us could use a system of some sort to keep them organized, too. This is a perfect cold weather project and will certainly help when it’s time for planting again. There are many ideas online to create your very own seed filing system, and most garden centers carry “fancy” ones if your creative spark is missing. Something as simple as a shoe box-sized container with 3-by-5 recipe card file tabs is a simple and inexpensive solution. I personally use a 6” 3-ring binder with plastic sleeves (I repurposed old CD sleeves) to organize my seeds.

“Wintery” weather gives us the time and permission to dream, too! Now is the time to curl up in a favorite spot with a cup of tea and create a plan to make our garden dreams come true. There are no weeds calling your name, no plants on the front porch begging to be put in the ground or watered and this is certainly not the time to spend much time outdoors. Schedule blocks of time to dream, sketch and research — the sky is the limit, so dream big.

One idea is to create separate plans for the next five years. Just like goal setting, we aren’t likely to get everything we desire completed in one year, or two — or 10. Why not make a list of priorities and a realistic timeline for accomplishing them?

It might seem like longer spring days are an eternity away, but in reality the days start getting longer in a very short time — Dec. 21 to be exact! So, it’s not too soon to prep for next year’s planting season. If you don’t already save your egg shells and coffee grounds, you can start. Make your purchases and get set up for your seed starting station. If you cannot wait to have some green things growing, there are plenty of indoor winter gardening projects, too. Grow herbs in a sunny window, grow your own bean sprouts (or whatever sprouts you like best!), fill your home with houseplants or grow microgreens! There are so many possibilities to get things growing indoors.

Rest for a short time if you must, but don’t forget that there are many fun gardening activities to be done before warmer temperatures return to our area. Happy planning!

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