America is in the midst of a gardening boom: one in three households grows food at home or in a co-op garden. Even millennials are joining in with gardening and the economic downturn doesn’t discourage people, either. Those with green thumbs are sure to dread the winter months. While your hard work is shining bright in the spring and summer, during the winter your pride and joy can sometimes be buried under a layer of frost and dead leaves. However, if you’re willing to change your perception a little, winter can actually be a great time for your garden. Here’s why, and a few tips on how to make your winter garden look fantastic:
Benefits of winter for your garden:
It turns out that gardens that experience winter may have some advantages over their warmer cousins. According to research from the University of Minnesota, many pests which are harmful to gardens hibernate when the weather gets cold. In addition, weeds grow more slowly and thanks to low light and less evaporation, plants often require less water in the winter. Doesn’t sound too bad, does it?
Choose winter friendly veggies and crops:
Although you might have to give up on your tomatoes and most other fruiting crops during the winter months, there are many tasty and cold-hardy vegetables you can try to grow, instead. Top choices are Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, onions, and some types of spinach. Look for vegetables with leaves, stems, and roots, that mature more and more slowly as the weather cools and the days shorten. As an added bonus, some of these vegetables sweeten as the weather gets colder!
Making your garden look great:
There are many ways to brighten up a barren winter garden. Focal points such as an outdoor wall mounted fountain, a sculpture, or boulder can draw interest all year round. Water features such as ponds can look stunning in winter, becoming the center of attention in contrast to their plainer surroundings.
Thanks to the lack of weeds, winter-hardy plants, and the potential for dramatic winter views, winter gardening is a lot nicer than you might think. So grab your gloves and your shovel and join America’s gardening boom.