It may be staying cold for while yet in Minnesota, but Marianne Lipanovich has some awesome ideas to get ahead on your lawn and gardening this year.
Winter weather can keep even the most avid gardener from working outside. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up all gardening activities until spring. Instead, use this time to focus on planning for later in the year or to knock out a couple of garden-related tasks that can be done now. Once warmer weather arrives, you’ll be ready to get outside and enjoy your space.
1. Pause and Reflect
Think back on the past year and how your space evolved through the seasons. What were your successes? Also think about what wasn’t successful or any areas that were overlooked. Maybe it’s time to add plantings to a neglected corner of the yard. Perhaps you want to expand an edible garden or add a shade tree. Now’s the time to brainstorm for the upcoming year.
2. Start Seeds
It may be too early to plant outside in all but the mildest climates, but you can get your garden ready for the season by starting seeds — especially annuals and edibles — indoors. Browse seed catalogs for familiar favorites and new possibilities.
Get your seeds off to a good start with the right light and consistent moisture. A sunny window will work well, or you can create your own mini plant nursery with grow lights and heat mats (available at local nurseries, home improvement stores or online).
3. Bring Your Garden Inside
Keep your gardening thumb green with an indoor garden. Many outdoor plants, including citrus, herbs and succulents, will thrive in a warm, sunny spot in your house. You can also add more indoor greenery with traditional houseplants, with orchids providing long-lasting floral color.
4. Welcome Wildlife
Not all birds fly south for the winter. Consider setting up bird feeders and watering holes for the locals to enjoy. (You can also set up feeding and watering areas for local animals at the same time.) If you live where birdbaths and small ponds will freeze over, look for heaters or devices to keep the water moving and ice-free.
Adding native plants is a longer-term solution that will provide food and shelter for nonmigratory birds and other animals.
5. Enhance Your Views
Spend some time taking in the yard from inside your home. Would a focal point, such as an accent plant or garden structure, help draw the eye (and eventually people) outside? Are there barren spots where new plantings could provide year-round interest and enhanced garden views? Or perhaps you need to screen an unpleasant sight or add privacy?
6. Research Landscape Pros
If you’re envisioning an overhauled design or any outdoor construction projects this year, now’s a good time to start researching professionals you might want to work with.
Pull together ideas, create a budget and look at possible timelines. Then contact your top pro choices. When the weather turns and you’re ready to begin work on the project, you’ll already have a team and a spot in the schedule.
7. Tidy Your Garden Workspace
Use the winter months to tackle garden maintenance tasks that can take place indoors. Clear out broken pots and materials you don’t use. Clean up and repair the garden tools you want to keep. Finally, ti
dy up and organize your garden shed, greenhouse or potting bench. You’ll be able to get started in the garden once the weather warms up.
8. Savor the Season
Sit back, relax and celebrate what the season has to offer from the comfort of your home. Pull a chair up to the window and watch the play of the rain and snow in the yard, enjoy the stark beauty of the bare branches of trees and shrubs or simply appreciate the cozy warmth of a pleasant garden view.