Plant Your Garden In The Winter? Why Not?
February is an unpredictable month when it comes to which season it sides with. Some years include warmer temperatures and other years, New Jersey is still covered in snow. The unpredictability and chilly temperatures leave many thinking it isn’t the right time to plant a garden. Instead of looking at the remaining signs of winter, focus on the emerging signs of spring – including longer days, emerging bulbs, and the return of wildlife. The truth is, February is a great month to get to work and plant your garden.
Tips to Plant Your Garden Now
1. Draw a map of the garden area.
For the best results, it is best to create a plan before you plant your garden. Start by brainstorming a list of vegetables, fruits, and plants you want to grow this year. Then draw a map of the garden area and where the seeds will be planted. Keep in mind, that some plants do better separate from those in the same family (i.e., watermelon and cucumbers). Once you have a plan, you can order seeds.
2. Start seeds indoors.
If you are planting seeds, some plants are best started inside than directly in the ground outside. Starting them indoors in February gives them enough time to grow strong roots and harden off before planting outdoors.
3. Prepare seed beds.
In the winter months, seedbeds are often neglected and impacted by the severe weather. They will require attention before planting begins and now is the perfect time for this task. Till or cultivate the soil to start the warm-up process and make it easier for seeds to acclimate once planted.
4. Rid the garden of weeds.
Pull weeds in the cooler temperatures to prevent them from pollinating and spreading when spring arrives. After weeds have been removed from the garden bed, add topsoil, compost or mulch as needed to get it to the correct height for planting.
5. Double check gardening tools.
Inspect existing gardening tools to make sure all items have sharp blades and are in working condition. If any tool is broken, now is the best time to purchase replacements, so you don’t find yourself without the necessary tools later on.
6. Prune and trim plants.
Check plants that remained in flower beds through the winter. Now is the time to prune and trim branches to encourage growth in the spring weather.
It might seem like it’s too cold to plant your garden this month; however, there are many benefits to beginning the work now. There is a better chance that your garden will produce a healthy crop, there are fewer bugs to swat away, and it is easier to manage hard work in the cooler temps.
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