The Winter Gardener

The Winter Gardener

What’s a gardener to do when it’s __________________ outside?  You fill in the blank…cold, wet, snowy, icy, windy, dark.  Take your pick of any of these adjectives.  This time of the year it is just too miserable to be outside working in our gardens.  As I sit in my house lamenting the fact that I am not able to get outside, I have been thinking about the indoor gardening activities that I can do.  So I have come up with a list of 8 indoor gardening activities to do NOW!

Indoor Gardening Activities to do in the Winter

Assess last year’s garden

This is the perfect time of year to look back on last year’s garden to figure out what worked and what didn’t work.  What vegetables did well?  How did your herbs and flowers fare?  Is it time to change out the perennial flowers?  Did you get the amount of produce that you wanted?  Did you grow from seed or starts?  All these questions will help you to form your plan for this year.  Now is the time to start thinking about this year’s garden.   Having a solid understanding of your successes and failures from last season can help you make better decisions for this season.Garden hydrangeas at their peak

Spend time looking through garden catalogues or websites and dream of this year’s garden

Do you remember as a child the joy you felt when the Christmas ads and catalogues started to arrive?  We would spend hours looking through those catalogues dreaming of what wonderful toys we wanted.  Now as an adult we have the opportunity to relive those moments by pouring through the garden catalogues and magazines that are available this time of year.  Now you can dream of the beautiful flowers you will have in your pots.  Is there a new vegetable or herb you want to try growing?  What are the latest trends in gardening to follow?  This is an opportunity to imagine what your garden could look like.  Take the time to develop your vision for your garden this year.  Bulbs to be planted in the garden

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Update last year’s garden journal or get started on this year’s journal

Creating a garden journal is a fun way to keep track of all that happens in your garden each year.  You can be as creative as you want in making your journal.  You might just be happy with written notes in a tablet.  Or you might make drawings or take pictures of the various plants that you have growing.  Your journal might be styled like a photo album or as simple as lined paper.  Whatever style you prefer, keeping a garden journal can make it easy to assess your plans for future years.

Plant any leftover bulbs that didn’t get planted last fall

I have to admit that oftentimes in the fall I am overzealous about how much time I have for planting bulbs.  Or at the tail end of the season I will see a store selling bulbs at give away prices and I buy a bunch.  Then the holiday season rolls around and I forget about those bulbs.  So if you have any of those left over bulbs sitting around, now is a good time to plant them in pots to force indoors.  It is too late typically to sneak them in outside so just plant them and enjoy the indoor show.  Paperwhites are one of my favorites, but daffodils, tulips and hyacinths can be easily forced.  Oftentimes, I will actually buy bulbs just to force.  Then in the middle of winter I have a wonderful indoor flower display to enjoy or give away.Bulbs planted in a container garden

Create an Indoor Herb Garden

If you have a window that gets some winter light then you could plant an indoor herb garden.  You can often find small herbs in the floral departments of grocery stores.  If you have leftover seeds you can start them in small pots.  You might also be able to find some indoor herb growing kits for sale.  Just the process of preparing the pot and watching those little seeds take off can tide an anxious gardener over until you can get outside.Herbs growing indoors in pots

Read a new garden book or two

Now is the perfect time to curl up with the latest garden book.  You can see what wonderful things other gardeners are doing and get inspiration for your garden.  Garden books that I am reading right now include Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson, Kitchen Garden Cookbook by Jeanne Kelley and Shed Decor by Sally Coulthard.Garden and Cookbooks to read

Craft something new for your garden decor

If you like to craft then now might be a good time to work on a new “indoor” project.  Do you have any broken hand tools that can be used to make outdoor decor?  Have you been wanting to make new garden markers?  You can make small stepping stones, wind chimes or marbled gazing balls.  Browse through Pinterest to get some ideas and enjoy a craft day or weekend.Tea cup bird feeder craft

Look through cookbooks to find new recipes to try this year

In the late summer when vegetables are growing fast and furious it is easy to get overwhelmed.  You have so much abundance and not enough time to figure out what to do with it all.  Now is a great time to get some ideas for all that produce.  Spend time looking through cookbooks and websites to find some new recipes to try.  Be sure to save the recipes so that you won’t forget about them in August when the zucchini and cucumbers are piling up.

As much as gardeners want to be outside working the garden, the garden needs a time of rest.  I must say that the gardener also needs a time of rest.  So enjoy the respite that you get during these slow, cold months.  The garden season will be here soon enough with all the activities that come.  The winter months are a time for the gardener to rest and get recharged for the new growing season.  While you are waiting for spring, take time for some of these indoor gardening activities.Winter Birds in the garden

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