For most homeowners, taking care of their garden is the last thing on their mind in the winter. Instead, they’re focused on staying warm, saving money on heating bills, and making sure their driveways are free of ice and snow when those unexpected storms hit. Once their Denver sprinkler service blows out the lines, there’s not much to worry about until spring, right? While you might not have to worry about your garden once the snows start to fall, that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything with it until spring. Here are a few simple things you can do to get a jumpstart on your spring gardening tasks, even when it’s freezing outside.
Start Planning New Garden Beds
Winter is the perfect time to start thinking about how you want your landscape to look come spring and summer. Grab a piece of paper and sketch out your ideal bed shape and design. Make a note of which plants you want to incorporate and where. This will serve as a point of reference when you’re ready to start planting.
Not sure where to start? Pick up a gardening magazine at the grocery store, browse pictures online, and even consider what your neighbors have done with their yards. The only limit is your imagination and once you see a few beautiful examples, the ideas will start coming more quickly. Don’t be afraid to get creative—your garden beds can be as orderly or as varied as you want and you don’t have to stick to the same plants as you’ve had for the last few years.
Order Seeds Ahead of Time
Once you plan out your garden bed and have an idea of what you want to plant, start ordering seeds. It may be tempting to use starter plants from your local nursery to save on work, but doing so can ruin your gardening budget. Starter plants are expensive and for the cost of one plant, you can often purchase several seed packets. Make a list of the must-have plants in your garden and start ordering those seeds as soon as possible. This way, you’ll be prepared as soon as the weather starts to get warmer.
Get Tools in Order
Winter is the best time to start looking for deals on new gardening tools or taking care of repairs. Fewer people are thinking about gardening which means stores may offer sales and clearance pricing on gardening equipment every few weeks. Stock up on the materials you need now when prices are at their lowest. Remember, it never hurts to pick up a few extra pairs of gardening gloves. For old tools, use steel wool to get rid of rust and a good mineral oil to keep the rust from coming back. This way, you’ll get decades more use out of each tool in your shed.
If you have electronic gardening tools, consider having them serviced during the winter as well. With fewer people worrying about their gardens, technicians have more availability and will be able to tune up your machines or take care of repairs more quickly. Best of all, you’ll have your equipment back in good condition before the first spring thaw. While everyone else is worrying about getting their lawnmower repaired, you’ll be ready and able to start mowing as soon as the grass starts growing.
Clean Up Overgrowth and Dead Plants
Just because the ground is frozen doesn’t mean you can’t show your garden a bit of love. Take a look at the garden beds and see if there’s an abundance of dead growth or overgrowth left from the summer. If so, get rid of it. Most dead growth can be removed easily with a pair of gardening gloves and a small trowel. Keep in mind that for larger plants, shrubs, bushes, and trees, you may need to call a professional landscaping team to haul the materials away.
Repurpose That Christmas Tree
In Colorado, a fresh layer of mulch can help keep the perennial plants in your garden beds in good shape, protecting them from frost damage. However, mulch isn’t the only thing you can use. Once the holiday season is over, chop some of the boughs off the Christmas tree before having the trash company haul it away.
Lay the boughs over the garden beds—just make sure that the branches are cut into small pieces so they won’t crush the root systems beneath the soil. Come spring, you can discard the makeshift mulch or toss it into your compost pile.
Start Your Seeds
About six weeks before the end of winter, you can start thinking about preparing those seeds
you bought earlier in the season. Before you plant the seeds in a good starter mix, make sure your trays and equipment are clean, dry, and free of remnants from the previous year’s seedlings. Any moisture, mold spores, or remaining material on the trays puts your new seeds at risk and could lead to a disease-ridden garden bed once the starter plants are transferred outside. When in doubt, soak the trays in a diluted bleach solution or use white vinegar and water for a more eco-friendly alternative. Rinse the trays thoroughly and allow them to dry completely before starting new seeds.
Build Your Beds
While you may not be able to plant during the winter, you can still start mapping out and building new garden beds, even when the ground is frozen. Frame out raised beds in the garage where you can stay warm while you work. If you’re planning on using stones or other hardscape elements in the garden, start compiling the materials ahead of time. Once the weather is warm enough to work outside, you’ll be able to start building immediately.
Winter doesn’t have to put an end to your gardening and landscaping tasks. Use the season as an opportunity to get everything ready for spring so you can be ready to start planting as soon as the weather improves. If you’re looking for help creating the perfect landscape design, don’t hesitate to get help. Contact us today
to schedule a free estimate and consultation.