|On my way out of school yesterday, I remarked on how cold it was. My friend replied, “It’s January, it’s supposed to be cold – but not this cold! The weatherman on CBS called this The Deep Freeze of 2010.” I’m so very tired of these freezing temperatures. And now there’s a shortage of tomatoes because of the prolonged cold temperatures in the South.||
Cold Weather Gardening Tips
I’ve been worried about the shrubs we planted this past Fall and would hate to see them damaged by this colder than normal weather – especially since we spent more on landscaping than we have in the past. My friend asked me what we’ve done to protect the new plants. I told her nothing….I didn’t know there was anything we could do to protect them from the extreme cold weather. We are just hoping for the best. (I really sounded ignorant, I guess.)
Since my friend is very knowledgeable when it comes to gardening, she gave me some cold weather gardening tips to protect our new plantings:
1. Wrap the plants with sheets or blankets at night when a frost is expected, remove them in the morning if the temperature warms up to their tolerant temperature. A frost cloth is the best protection and if you can build a frame around the plant so the cloth doesn’t touch – even better!
2. Add heat by using heat lamps with 100-watt bulbs in an outdoor fixture. Make sure the bulb does not touch the plant.
3. Be sure to add mulch to the ground around the plants. Mulch insulates the ground maintaining a more consistent temperature range, rather than greater fluctuations when the temperatures dip down below freezing.
Winter Gardening Projects
Our conversation made me realize I need to educate myself more to prepare for our Spring gardening projects. Since I had my friend’s ear, I asked her what I could do so I won’t make mistakes again. Here’s the winter gardening projects she suggested I do:
1. Take advantage of the winter months by signing up for gardening workshops offered by the local County Agriculture Extension or gardening clubs.
2. Visit the local library for books on gardening and horticultural gardens where I can ask questions. Also remember to research ways you can become a “green” gardener by using organic gardening products.
3. Learn about container gardening – plants may survive better in the winter because soil heats up quicker thus preventing roots from freezing.
Gardening with Grandchildren
It’s possible to have fun gardening with your grandchildren even during the cold weather months.
- To get your grandchildren interested in gardening, purchase kits that include making a small green house appropriate to start growing a variety of vegetable seeds in peat pots. Indoor gardening can teach responsibility while also teaching about the care of plants.
- Order a bunch of vegetable seed and flower seed catalogs for you and your grandchildren to start planning a Spring gardening project you can have fun doing together then and through the Summer into the Fall, too.
- Be sure to let the children make decisions and design a section of the larger garden just for them. Vegetable gardening is fun for children since the plants themselves grow fast.
Find out when the last freeze is and plan on starting seeds indoors about six weeks before that time, clean your gardening tools, stake your garden and finalize your garden design. Cold weather can be a big problem when it comes time to prepare a garden in the Spring – I hope Mother Nature will be kinder to us so we can get out in the sun (with protection, of course) and get our garden growing by following all the gardening tips we learm during the winter!