When the weather outside in too snowy or cold for your plants, build a winter garden in your backyard. These easy-to-build greeneries can save money on groceries and require little maintenance.
Contrary to popular belief, it's possible to plant and grow many seeds during the winter. A lot of plants, including certain vegetables and winter flowers, thrive in the cold conditions.
To help you get started, here’s IKO Community Management’s guide to building a winter garden in your home.
Find a small patch of south-facing land that's protected from the wind. A good example is the side of your home or underneath the deck. It’ll keep the garden warm when the temperatures drop.
Pro Tip: If you can't find a shaded spot by your home, surround your garden with a makeshift barrier. Use hay bales, a trellis, cold frames or hoop houses. This will help protect your plants from harsh winds and snowfall.
Clean up the leaves around the area and mow the lawn before getting started. This will provide a nice base for the winter garden and keep insects and rodents away.
Determine what type of garden you want to plant. This is identified through which plants you’d like to grow. Some common winter florals include chrysanthemums, asters, and pansies.
If you’re more interested in a b garden, choose winter vegetables. These include cabbage, carrots, onions, lettuce, potatoes, spinach, kale, or broccoli seeds. If you want both for your winter garden, choose a combination for beautification and functionality.
Use stakes and a pencil (or a few rulers) to mark where each plant is going to go. Plants should be about 6 to 8 inches away from each other.
Also, consider the direction each plant tends to grow before you begin digging. This will help ensure that the leaves won’t tangle aboveground. It'll also ensure that the roots won’t intertwine below the dirt
Using a small shovel or your gloved hand, dig a hole about 6 inches into the ground. Pro Tip: It’s best to start digging before the first hard frost of the year, so get outside as soon as possible.
Drop the seeds into each hole then use the excess dirt to cover the hole.
Add 2 to 3 inches of mulch around the entire area. This fertilizes the garden, conserves natural rainwater (which can be hard to come by during the winter), and keeps the soil warm on frigid days.
Pro Tip: If you don’t want to mulch, use peat moss, bark, sawdust, or shredded newspaper for the same results.
Water the plants thoroughly. Continue watering them as frequently as you would during the spring or summer. Also, check the soil moisture often because plants in dry soil don't survive as long as those in moist soil.
Even though sunshine is limited and the temperatures dropped, the weather is still good for gardening. A winter garden of cold-weather vegetables and flowers is beautiful and functional.
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