What To Do Come Winter: Cold Weather Gardening

 5 Things to Do Come Winter


Baby its COLD OUTSIDE, many of my plants stopped growing; the watermelon is gone! And things seem impossible to start and all the Spring/Autumn plants are pretty much DEAD. Many gardeners throw in the towel and wait until March to restart the process. We can grow year round with a few simple tips:

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1. Prep the Beds

As the cold season emerged we began to see many things die. This is a chance to make to best bed possible. Start by removing all dead or dying plants. Find out which of your plants are annuals (last only a season) and which are perennial (last multiple seasons) and remember just because it looks like it is dying does not mean it dead.  

Turnover the Bed: either by shove, by rake or by hand flip over all the soil in the bed. Until it loos refreshed

Add organic material: Those dead plants you pulled, compost, chicken manure, kitchen scraps from your house (egg shells, yard leaves, banana peels, etc) can all be added. There are plenty more nutrient rich items you can add. These suggestions are to use what you may already have.

 

Lastly, if weeds are your problem or if beginning a new bed from the ground up, use cardboard to mat out weeds (double layer if weeds are aggressive) then layer with soil. Soil, compost and top mulch (can be pre-bagged varieties.)

 

2. Compost, Compost, Compost

Compost can sometimes run around $30 a bag. It is a nutrient dense organic component that can take any vegetable crop to thee next level. Winter makes for great downtime from tending to are usual workload that comes Spring & Summer gardening. Winter last from December to March and that is 4 full months that produce some amazing compost material from your own home.

Begin but collecting kitchen scraps: Used coffee grounds & tea leaves from paper tea bags.  Parts and pieces of ANY fruit or vegetable. Yes you can throw in an entire apple, onion or avocado with the seeds. No need to wash nor chop into small pieces. REMEMBER to remove all bands, twine and small stickers. Those plastics do not break down.

Add eggshells unwashed as well to your collection. Other animal materials can be used at your own discretion. I’ve had the best results with only eggshells.  

Everything can be saved in a brown grocery bag for a week or so. It can also be frozen  to slow down the breakdown process until you are ready to add to your compost bin

 

Next: Choose your bin or container. You can Buy Pre-made containers that aid in turning the contents or you can make your own. Make sure it is a tightly sealed container that wont leak and has proper aeration. Also if you keep worms to the compost please make sure that the container blocks out sunlight. Sunlight paralyzes earth worms. Here are few container suggestions chosen by me:

3. Know Your Zone

Knowing your zone is imperative to seeing your plant grow to healthy and to their full potential. On the back of every packet of nationally branded seeds you will see a color map of every state broken down based on their climate. Knowing your zone and weather type plays a huge part in what will grow best in our spaces.  You can find you planting zone along with planting suggestions by googling your "grow zone"

4.Start Your Seeds Indoors

The best thing to do would to grab a seed tray made from an egg container. Or you can purchase a plastic one from Amazon or Home Depot. A cup with holes in the bottom works as well. Winter started Late January and ends Mid-March. That gives us plenty of time to begin our seeds. Widow seals are ideal placements for natural lighting. The average room temp can range from 59 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit which is ideal for most plants. If you have seed from an envelope, follow the same instructions as you would if you were to plant outside. Keep the seeds near a window for all the sun the day has to offer. Better yet, you can invest in an indoor light to guarantee at least 8 hours.

5.Bring Your Plants Inside

This is a *2-for-1 SPECIAL* both are great for beginners, cost almost NO MONEY to start and make for a great home botany project for children.

With a jar, clean water and an old potato or onion you can regrow an entire crop. Emerge the over grown parts of the vegetable alone in a jar half filled with water until the roots are barely touching. Place the jar in the Sun. Over the next few weeks you will see the roots take off and soon enough you can bury the root vegetable in soil to grow a full crop.

All from a single potato or onion bought from the grocery store. They like partial shade, loose healthy soil and to be watered daily.

(Pro Tip: Green Onions are the easiest to regrow. Leave about two inches in a small cup of water and watch the take off! No need to grow them in soil. Green onions are the gift that keep on giving)

Thank you for reading. You can email me at plantpluglosangeles@gmail.com or on Instagram @theplantplugla

I have Amazon seed suggestions below