Winter Gardening Tips
Prune trees and vines.
December and January are great months to prune climbing roses, grapes, Japanese maple trees and the like.
Dead branches should be pruned as close to the trunk as possible. Prune grapevines in December or January but no later or the cut end will bleed sap. Prune fruit trees (except stone fruits).
Feed the birds.
In winter the birds appreciate a little extra help with finding food! Fill feeders or hang suet blocks to help them get through. Birds eat bugs and feed on weed seeds during the growing season, so attracting then to your garden year-round just makes sense.
Check out this simple 2 ingredient suet cake recipe.
Clean and inspect garden tools.
Before putting your garden tools away for winter, make sure they’re clean. Remove rust before storing ensures that your tools will be ready to go when you need them in storing! You can also coat your tools with a light coating of vegetable oil to prevent them from rusting over winter. Take a good look at each piece as you clean it. Is it still in good shape, or does it need replaced?
Turn off the water.
Make sure water is turned off to the outside faucets. Open the faucets and let drain so the water left inside the pipes doesn’t freeze and burst them. I insulate taps with a cover even though I turn off the water supply at the main pipe.
Check what’s on sale online and in stores.
Make a list of what you need for the new season and pick up gardening supplies at a discount. It’s off season so many of last seasons tools and equipment can be found for a great price!
Organize your seeds.
Go through all your seeds and figure out what you have enough of and what may not be viable and needs replaced. I don’t tend to have a lot of seeds so my organizing method is very simple, but many gardeners with bigger seed collections use craft organizers, photo cases or old fashioned recipe boxes with great success.
Decide what you’ll be planting.
Deciding what to plant in your garden can be as simple as jotting down everything that was successful the last few years and decide which ones are worth the effort to grow again. Or you can spend time exploring new varieties and experiment with some new flowers, fruits or vegetables. You’ll need to know what you want to grow though, before you can move on to the next winter gardening task.
Plan next year’s garden out completely.
Keep in mind crop rotation, plant spacing, succession planting and companion planting. Make a chart and play with your placement till you get it exactly how you want it. Check out: How to draw a remarkable effective garden map. Speaking of maps, if you didn’t make a sun map of your garden yet, now is the time to do it!