If spring days will be arriving soon, you do not need to wait until the end of winter to prepare your garden. You can start doing all the basic things right now even when it’s cold.
Preparing the soil
The first thing to do is to start tilling or turning the soil, thereby making it ready for spring planting. “You may want to add chicken manure, steer manure or your favorite compost. Turning and enriching the soil with nutrients is beneficial anywhere in your yard or plant beds; soil can compact over time which leaches the nutrients out of the soil, especially if amendments or composts haven’t been added for a while,” according to Summer Winds. If some plants already exist, check out whether any of them look susceptible to the cold. If so, mulch them so as to ensure that they are still alive when spring kicks in.
If your garden has any structure that requires some kind of repairs, then this is the right time to do it. Check the structure for any rot or weakness. If the soil is soft, some of the younger trees can get knocked over due to the strong winds and cause damage to the structure. So keep the soil firm.
Only choose seeds that are hardy since seeds of plants that are tender or tropical will die out in the cold. In case you are sowing in winter for the first time, some excellent options include beets, carrots, radishes, cabbage, and spinach. You can either choose to sow directly in the soil or can sow in containers that can later be transplanted into the soil when spring arrives. There are pros and cons to both these methods. Direct sowing will save you the time that will be wasted with container sowing.
However, you won’t get any head start with direct sowing since the soil won’t be as warm as it is in the containers. If there are seeds you are sowing directly in the soil, “start with the plants that take the longest to mature and will be there for the longest — the trees. Next, come bushes, then perennials including any perennial herbs, annuals including vegetables, and finally any potted plants. The last would be plants that can’t survive in your area that you really want,” according to The Survival Mom.
In case you plan on growing potatoes, you should start chitting them right now. “Chitting it is a way of preparing potatoes for planting by encouraging them to sprout before planting in the ground. This gives the tubers a head start and encourages faster growth and heavier crops once the seed potatoes are planted,” according to Grow A Good Life.
You should start chitting potatoes about 4 weeks prior to planting them on the ground. Keep the potatoes in a dark, warm area at a temperature of about 21°C. It should start sprouting in about a week. Take them to a colder location of about 10°C after two weeks. Once three weeks have passed, you should start seeing pink or green sprouts.
If you are not too sure about which seeds to plant in the garden or when to plant them, check the growing zone you live in. Only plant seeds that have been deemed as “safe” to grow in your zone.